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tv   Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen - Part 1  CSPAN  January 16, 2018 7:53pm-12:16am EST

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eastern on wednesday morning. join us for washington journal on friday and saturday as we look back to the anniversaries of president trump's inauguration and the women's march on washington. a live look at the capital where the house has wrapped up their work and shortly after they fitness -- finish their debate, the congress met, members considering how to move forward after friday's deadline. the chicago tribune tweeted she is confirming house republicans are setting up a four-week continued resolution with the children's health insurance program and repeal of the affordable care act medical issuestax and other to we will keep you updated. news reports say that would rum -- run through february 16. the senate is still in session over on c-span2. as our craig kaplan reported, they have approved moving forward with the debate on the foreign intelligence
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surveillance reauthorization, 60-38 was the vote. the 60th vote was needed to announce that bill. also on capitol hill, a number of hearings we covered, a rather lengthy one on homeland security. a routine oversight hearing with kiersten nielsen --kirstjen nielsen. testified before the judiciary subcommittee on this issue. and also talked with a number of senators about the recent changes in daca and immigration. here is what she had to say with some -- senator amy klobuchar. >> listening to your answers under oath that you did not hear and i will not repeat this word and give it any dignity, we will collect the word s-hole. you testified under oath you did not hear the president use that word up a meeting. >> correct. >> is a possible he said the
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word at the meeting and you do not hear it? >> anything is possible. yes, ma'am. a possible he also said that wording you do not hear it? >> it is possible. there was crosstalk. i unfortunately was not -- the meeting was unscheduled. last-minute, when i was notified, i had to clear my schedule. i came in late. anything is possible. i can testify to what i don't know. number of one of our questions regarding language use with president trump last week, here is the entire hearing from earlier today. it is nearly four hours.
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>> to everybody in this room, welcome, but particularly secretary nielsen, we welcome you. thank you for taking time from your busy schedule for being here for a very important part of congress's responsibility to the congressional oversight. your department is a very important part of the executive branch, plays a very central role in overseeing our lawful immigration system besides protecting the country and our people. oversight is a very important part of what we do here in congress.
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events like today's hearing allows the people's representatives to investigate and question the policies and the actions of the executive branch could there are important issues in your departments jurisdiction that are facing our country. one of those important issues is the continuing fate of at least 690,000 individuals enrolled in the daca program. every member of this committee, especially this member, has an interest in ensuring that we find a fair and equitable solution for that population. i hope my colleagues also share my concern about the continued integrity of our nation's lawful immigration system and the
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safety of those that call america home. it's imperative that we make sure 20 years from now that we don't wind up right back where we are now at the negotiation table on the same immigration issues. in order to do that, the simple fact and then any daca solution has to answer issues like border security, interior enforcement, chain migration. let me take a minute and explain what i mean by border security. real robust border security is a puzzle and has many pieces. one piece of this puzzle is the need for technical and technological infrastructure. that includes a combination of a wall where appropriate, fencing, drones, radar, everything in between, but another piece and i believe you will agree another important piece, is the legal authority to apprehend, detain, and remove people who illegally after our country. -- enter our country. unfortunately our current legal authorities are riddled with loopholes and don't allow us to effectively do that. just ask any cbp officer about how effective our current authorities are. the answer you will hear is pretty clear.
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they aren't very effective. that is why border security provisions in any daca deal without changes is useless. border security isn't enough. we also have to make changes to our interior enforcement to allow us to remove dangerous criminal aliens. your department needs increased authority to remove human traffickers, sex offenders, criminal gang members, drunk drivers, and terrorists. public safety threats should not be given free reign to roam our country. we owe the american people of real solution to this problem and the only way to provide it is to address these other pieces as well, but daca is not the only issue your department is facing. american workers are increasingly at risk because the
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united states admits so many foreign workers, some of whom are permitted to stay for years or even decades. many companies use cheap foreign labor, driving down salaries. worse still, many of these employers commit terrible abuses. that is why i was pleased to see this administration take on the buy america,its hire american executive order. it is unclear whether efforts to date have really moved the needle when it comes to protecting american workers and i hope that you, madam secretary, could shed light on that. this committee is well aware that the department is facing larger structural problems. dhs still doesn't operate like a single agency. you may disagree, but that's the way i see it. it operates like a bunch of little agencies that don't always work well together.
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time and again i hear reports that the various components within the department do not have adequate mechanisms for data collection and information sharing. that means the right hand often doesn't know what the left is doing. in practice, that causes inefficiency. that criticism is particularly concerning with regards to dhs's founding mission to protect the united states from terrorism. when the agency doesn't adequately share information, it's hard to see how the department will be well-equipped to foresee the next new york city attack or the next san bernardino shooting. the threat from overseas continues to be real, but this country has also seen a rise in home grown violent extremists, collecting and sharing information within dhs and other law enforcement partners is critical to combating these
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threats. in 2017, the department was criticized by its own inspector general for the lack of unified immigration strategy, for poor information sharing and between sub agencies and a series of i.t. challenges. regarding the immigration strategy, last november dhs, the office of inspector general criticized the agency for failing to unify the approach across agency subcomponents like ice, cbp, and uscis. these sub agencies enforce the same laws and they must -- just common sense, they must be reading from the same page. otherwise you will continue to suffer from conflicting enforcement priorities. regarding information sharing, for years i've been raising
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concerns about this very real and serious problem, which affects all u.s. government agencies and your department is no exception. in october 2017, special inspector general for the afghan reconstruction reported a significant problem with afghan military officers in the u.s. for training often going awol. these awol afghan soldiers are considered high risk because of their military training and low risk for detention. out of 150 a wall afghan -- awol afghan trainees come of the country or remain unaccounted for. apart from the obvious national security concerns, this also negatively impacts operational readiness and wastes millions of taxpayers dollars. in some of these cases, ice failed to notify other u.s.
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government agencies that the afghan officials had gone awol. i hope the department is working to implement the inspector general's important recommendations. another case that also happened under the obama administration, ice was investigating a daca recipient accused of child exploitation. because ice failed to share information with the rest of the department, the man was issued an employment authorization document and was able to get a job at a summer camp where he harmed several children before he was caught. of course, it's obvious that that's a tragedy. this kind of completely avoidable failure should never happen, but all of your department's oig reports, the recent ones at least, suggest that dhs means serious needs serious improvement
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when it comes to sharing information between components. the same is true of information technology. in 2017, every single department oig report that touched on the i.t. systems had something critical to say. in some cases, like the cbp, your oig said that the i.t. systems are so old and ineffective that they are risk to public safety and national security. this risk became real for hundreds of thousands of holiday travelers when cbp system went down two weeks ago on january 2, stranding them at u.s. airports around our country. on top of that, the department still has not fulfilled its decades-old promise to create a working exit entry system. because dhs has never been able to complete the system, we don't know who has departed this country, and that means we also don't know who is still here.
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statistics show that almost half of the aliens unlawfully present in the united states came here legally but overstayed when their status expired. if we knew they were still here, we could track them down and penalize the people who overstay, but the department has not been able to build the i.t. system necessary to make this possible. despite all these concerns, it's clear that under the current administration, dhs is making real progress to improve homeland security. in 2017, we saw a real efforts to curb illegal immigration, close loopholes in legal immigration authorities, and protect the american people from international terrorism. for these and other reasons, i'm grateful for your service as we ought to be for a lot of cabinet
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secretaries, but particular your department you have to oversee, so i look forward to hearing more from you today as we explore ways to improve your agency and address our country's needs. i think you -- i thank you secretary nielsen for your participation in this important hearing. now i call on senator feinstein. sen. feinstein: i agree with you about your strong feelings on oversight and i would like to take this opportunity to welcome you, madam secretary, to the committee. the department of homeland security actually more than any other agency, impacts the lives of tens of thousands of the residents of the largest state, california, on a daily basis. through its policies affecting tourism, immigration, as well as efforts fighting wildfires, and other natural disasters and
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protecting our nation's security, your agency, madam secretary, impacts my state in profound ways. since the trump administration assumed power in january of last year, californians have watched with great concern as the department has implemented a series of concerning policy changes. this administration has systemically announced a series of changes targeted at immigrants and their families. they include the reckless and poorly drafted muslim ban in the first days of the administration. the decision to slash and cripple programs. the rescission of daca before a legislative solution was in place to protect these young people who trusted our government. the systematic destruction of the legal immigration system, including the cumbersome expansion of immigration
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application forms. and the termination of separate protected status for salvadorans and shockingly haitians, meaning individuals will likely be deported to some areas with the highest rate of violent crime and poverty next year. these policies have had a ripple effect throughout communities and neighborhoods in my state. we have seen children afraid to go to school, parents afraid to go to work, distinguished professors denied visas, husbands and wives separated, and families toward apart. -- torn apart. one case that really stood out for me is that of the sanchez family from the oakland area. the parents were deported late last year. they weren't criminals. they owned a home. they pay their taxes. they lived in the united states for 22 years.
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-- 23 years. the mother was an oncology nurse at highland hospital. the father, a truck driver. their deportation meant that their children, one of the united states citizen and one a daca recipient, ages 23, 21 respectively, have to be the caretakers for the two younger siblings, ages 16 and 12. i personally plan with your -- pled with your predecessor to spare this family from deportation. however, my requests were rebuffed. let me just share a few other examples through california. a teacher from los angeles writes, "i woke up this morning to the trump administration's decision to rescind their immigration status for salvadorans. tomorrow i have to face my high school students and try to reassure them that they will be ok, even though they will be facing tremendous uncertainty
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and possible deportation in the coming months." that's a quote. a young dreamer from riverside wrote, and i quote, "i came to the united states in 2005 when i was only six years old. ending daca would mean that my dreams and opportunities to be successful would be destroyed. i would not have been able to reach and afford a higher education if it were not for daca." so my office has been inundated with hundreds of these stories, madam secretary. since this administration assumed office, my office and i have met with muslim americans afraid that their families will be denied the visitor visas because of their faith. we met with daca recipients that have told me personally that they have contemplated suicide for the potential exposure to ice that may be
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inflicted on the rest of their undocumented families. what's worse is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. i understand the administration is considering even more drastic policy changes. for instance, the press has reported that the administration is once again considering a generalized policy of separating small children from their parents at the southwest border. candidly, woman to woman, i can't believe that, and i hope you will clarify the department's position in your remarks, because not only would such a systemic policy encroach upon the constitutional rights of parents, it is callous and quite frankly stunningly un-american. the american academy of pediatrics called such a proposal "inhumane and counterproductive." citing the potential for trauma
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and stress to cause permanent harm on the developing brains of children. the america i know does not rip small children from their parents and i can imagine the -- can't imagine the fear that a small child must fear if this were to happen. and for what? because the child had no choice in any of this, so please, i hope you will set that straight today. when i heard for the first time that this policy was being considered, i wrote to your predecessor, mr. kelly, and asked him to soundly reject this cruel proposal. and i now hope that today you hear will reject it as well immediately and forcefully. lastly, in light of the reports about the president's recent comments, i hope you're ready to specifically address one issue in particular. and that is the termination of
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temporary protected status, known as tps, for haitians. in light of the president's comments, i'm forced to question whether the decision to terminate protected status for haitian nationals was in fact racially motivated. i hope not. i thank you, madam secretary, for appearing here today. i know that some of the decisions made by the department came before your tenure in office. however, given your proximity to general kelly during many of them, i hope you are prepared to answer the questions that my colleagues and i have. and i thank you, mr. chairman. sen. grassley: thank you, senator feinstein. before you give your opening statement, i would like to have you be sworn. would you please stand? do you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the
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committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? please be seated. you're welcome now to give your opening statement. when we go to questions, we will have 10 rounds of questions. let me say something mostly for the benefit of senator harris and senator booker. my practice on questioning is that if there is one second left and you start your question before the time runs out, you can complete your question and we will complete an answer. at that point, i hope we don't have give and take, back and forth. since we have 10 rounds, this is going to be a long meeting so i hope you will understand if i ask people to stay within the 10 minutes. >> 10 minutes? [laughter] sen. grassley: sorry, i misspoke secretary nielsen, please proceed. sec. nielsen: thank you for the
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opportunity to testify before you today. i have submitted my full written statement for the record and would like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts with you. the men and women of the department of homeland security are working tirelessly everyday to make our community safer and our nation more secure. i'm honored to be here today to speak on their behalf. i look forward to working with the committee and each of you to give these heroes the authorities and resources they need to do the job that you have asked of them. today, dhs and the department of justice issued the initial so-called section 11 report prescribed by executive order 13 780 protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the united states. i will encourage you all to take time and read it and we will be happy to work with your staff in the coming days to answer any questions you might have. i would like today to take the opportunity to highlight some of
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the findings. so much of what we do to protect our citizens from terrorist attacks is classified and as you know must remain so. however, the idea behind the section 11 report is to allow us to be more transparent with the american people, giving them a glimpse of the gravity of our national security environment. the report includes truly chilling data, including information about how many foreign nationals have been convicted of international terrorism related offenses in federal court since 9/11 and how many known or suspected terrorists dhs has encountered in the past year. we are ready to answer any specific questions you might have with the department of justice. according to the list maintained by the department justice national security division, at least 549 individuals were convicted of terrorism related charges in federal courts since september 11, 2001 and ending december 31, 2016.
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of those 549 individuals, 402 were foreign-born. that is 73%. three out of four individuals convicted in this country of international terrorism related charges in the last 15 years were foreign-born. this does not include those convicted of domestic terrorism or those convicted on separate charges or those convicted in state courts. it does not include those that law enforcement has yet to encounter. this report unfortunately is likely the tip of the iceberg and we will continue to work with those in law enforcement to get the best data that we can so we can all assess the situation. i will give you an example. a national of uzbekistan was admitted to the united states as a visa lottery recipient in 2011. and 2015, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to support isis and in 2017 was subsequently
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sentenced to 15 years in prison. according to court documents, he posted a threat on a website to kill them president obama in an act of martyrdom by isis. he stated his belief in isis's terrorist agenda, including the establishment by force of his or islamic caliphate in iraq and syria. the report also covers likely terrorists that we prevented from entering the united states. in 2017 alone, dhs had 2554 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watch list who were attempting to travel to the united states. that equates to seven terrorists a day, 50 a week. the vast majority were attempting to enter by air and 355 were attempting to cross the land border and 49 by sea. that is one year and that is
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just those that we know about. it does not include illegal border crossings who may be no -- be known or suspected terrorists that we do not encounter. these threats against her homeland driver mission every day. that is why we're looking to block known or suspected terrorists from entering the country and why we're focusing on combating terrorist radicalization and recruitment within our community. over the past year we have implemented sweeping enhancements to keep terrorists from infiltrating our country. the department and our interagency partners have put tough security protocols in place to intensive i -- to intensify vetting of u.s. bound travelers. this includes security at every route them terrorist could use to get to the united states whether as a tourist, visitor, immigrant, refugee. we have made flights bound for the united states more secure against concealed explosives, insider threats, and potentially dangerous passengers.
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these new measures, both unseen and seemed, represent some of the biggest aviation security enhancements since 9/11. in cyber security, dhs has increased its coronation with industry and state and local and tribal and territorial governments to protect vital networks by evidence by our response to the want to cry cyberattack. we also focused on the renewal of enforcing our law. apprehensions at the border reached a 45 year low in fy 2017, a 45% decrease from the last year of the previous and ministration. -- previous administration. meanwhile, immigration and customs enforcement arrests increased by 30% and removals increased by 27%. for all of our compliments, our -- our accomplishments, our work is far from done. our continued success relies on the authorities that congress can provide.
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this is especially true with respect to immigration. even with our progress, we still apprehend 1100 people a day who attempt to enter the country illegally. people unfortunately who are encouraged by our judicial and congressional loopholes. i urge congress to fix these loopholes so we can effectively execute the missions congress entrusted to the men and women of the department of homeland security. thanks to the president's efforts, we have consensus on four corners of an immigration bill -- border security, ending the diversity visa, ending chain migration, and finding a permanent solution for the current daca recipients. i look forward to working with congress to reach a solution. time is of the essence. encourage congress to empower us to address us empower us to address dangers. we are concerned that u.s. can be used as weapons for surveillance to smuggle illicit goods into the homeland.
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i look forward to working with congress to pass a dhs reauthorization bill. we cannot keep the united states and its citizens secure with authorities drafted for a different era to address the threats of the last decade. we need updated authorities, updated support, and updated accountability for the world we live in today. finally, i would of course be remiss if i didn't mention dhs's extensive disaster response efforts of the past year. we continue to be fully engaged in the recovery in puerto rico and other states and territories affected by this season's massive hurricanes. i was recently in california visiting with wildfire victims and first responders. unfortunately we have seen how these survivors have had to confront mudslides. dhs and fema will continue to work with california state local partners to help our fellows americans. as always, i want to take a moment to thank the great men and women of dhs for their service, dedication, and passion
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in day-to-day performing the difficult and dangerous job on behalf of the amazing people. again, it is on their behalf i'm here today. i want to thank you for your leadership, your support of the department, and for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to answering your questions. sen. grassley: to clarify, we aren't having 10 rounds of questions. we are having 10 minute time slots. i will start and then senator feinstein. again, for the new members, sometimes if you wonder why senator feinstein and senator leahy and senator hatch may get a little extra time, it's out of respect for them being ranking member of former chairman. >> while, thank you. wow, thank you. sen. grassley: i will let the
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democrats decide the order. secretary nelson, as you are fully aware, congress is currently debating what border security measures to team up with. daca, clearly infrastructure including fencing, walls where appropriate, and technology are key parts of border security, but infrastructure by itself is not sufficient. this is positions that senator perdue, cotton, and i made very clear last year, particularly the speedy deportation of dangerous criminal aliens. unfortunately some of my colleagues seem to believe that robust border security is achieved by infrastructure alone. as head of the department with front-line responsibility of securing the border, i'm curious to hear your thoughts. my first question i'm going to make as a statement. unless you disagree, tell me so i can get to more important things.
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our conversations with people in your department make it very clear that construction of a border wall system alone is not sufficient to provide operational control the border. if you accept that, do you agree that legal loopholes in the current border enforcement authority have weakened your agency's ability to secure the border? sec. nielsen: yes, sir. i couldn't agree more. grassley: are changes needed to existing legal authorities to make it easier to apprehend, detain, and d part dangerous criminal aliens, specifically which authorities should congress consider changing as part of the daca deal? sec. nielsen: we must let to -- look to address the loopholes that are created both by the tbp ra as well as the flores settlement. the men and women of dhs need the ability to not just apprehend but quickly remove those we apprehend.
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they have to go hand-in-hand. we cannot claim security if we can merely interdict but not remove. sen. grassley: if congress provides amnesty for potentially millions of individual's without changes to existing legal authorities, what impact will that have on your agency's ability to secure the border? sec. nielsen: unfortunately we will be back here again. without closing the loopholes, we will encourage those who attempt this dangerous journey to come here illegally to do just that. we will end up with additional temporary populations, which are not fair to those undertaking a journey, not fair to americans, not fair to our communities and workers. we must close the loopholes so we do not end up here again. sen. grassley: i'm assuming you're familiar with stories like kate steinle's death at the hands of dangerous criminal aliens.
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if those aliens had not been here, it would've been entirely preventable. sadly congress has long refused to pass enhanced penalties for dangerous criminal a lee and -- criminal aliens, penalties that could have prevented these killers from being in our country. many of my colleagues have long claimed that they support removing dangerous criminal aliens in this country yet they are refusing to consider interior enforcement measures as part of a daca deal. my colleagues claim it's unfair to have a whole weight of immigration reform on the backs of daca kids to harm their dreams with enhanced enforcement measures. but i think it's pretty clear that kate steinle and sarah had dreams as well. my question to you is that i'm sure you would agree that they deserved to live in peace and
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harmony. is it fair to their memories and legacies to continue allowing dangerous criminal aliens to remain at large in our country? sec. nielsen: no, sir. sen. grassley: what new authority does your department need to make it easier to detain, punish, and speedily remove dangerous criminal aliens should such measures be a part of any potential daca deal? sec. nielsen: we need to be look at the basis for which we can remove an alien. there are loopholes that prevent us in various cases from removing somebody from what we would generally considered to be a serious crime. we are also limited to court cases for how long we can detain a criminal alien after we apprehend them. we need to address that. there is a deterrence issue they're just as there is in any other law enforcement context. we need the ability to remove once we detain dangerous criminals.
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sen. grassley: i want to go to unaccompanied children. as you know, customs and border protection has reported that a number of apprehensions at our southern border are down, including apprehensions for unaccompanied alien children. obviously good news. the journey from a minor's home country can be perilous for children. for years i've written about cases in which smugglers have exploited unaccompanied alien children and taking advantage of lenient detention systems. most recently i wrote about another incentive for vulnerable children to come here to access our government facilitated abortion services. i will ask you to answer this more in my letter, but has your department seen the smuggling of alien children by promising access to certain health services in custody?
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if so, what steps has the department taken through human smuggling seller of the directorates taken to deter smuggling and trafficking of unaccompanied alien children? sec. nielsen: yes, sir. thank you for the question. this month we particularly look at human trafficking at dhs and how to prevent it. it is -- make no mistake -- modern-day slavery. we all need to work together. i know that there are various bills on human trafficking. the transnational criminal organization, and those who goods, do itlicit as a business. they look for any reason in which someone might have the opportunity to either receive a benefit that they do not qualify or to be able to stay in this
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country and in a legal status. to have that information and provide that to those and encourage them to take that dangerous journey in exchange for a false promise that they will not be captured and deported by the united states. sen. grassley: have you seen a decrease in the unaccompanied alien children asylum cases since the decision to end the central american minor program? sec. nielsen: we have seen some decreases overall, but i would like to point out unfortunately that we have a 30% increase from october through december and we also have a 68% increase in family units during that same time period. sen. grassley: as you know, congress is currently considering a number of young men and women to provide legal status to any potential deal on daca. some people like this senator believe that we should limit any status to the 690,000 individuals currently enrolled in daca.
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these young men and women came out of the shadows and build their life around daca. they were brought to this country through no fault of their own and did not make a conscious choice to break our nation's laws. i believe there's an equity issue that necessitates addressing their status. however, that equity issue is not present for their parents. those men and women did choose to violate our nation's laws and made a conscious choice to immigrate here without papers. we should not reward that behavior. reports suggest several of my colleagues are now considering providing legal work authorization to these individuals. to the best of your knowledge, my first question -- how many people would benefit from an amnesty that provides work authorization to the parents of dreamers? sec. nielsen: what i would say is, i can tell you the number of daca registered, which is
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690,000. 690,000 is the number that the department of homeland security begins with in any discussion. there are a variety of bills that you know that take that population and expands it by either increasing the time in which they could a first entered, increasing the age for which one is considered to be a so-called dreamer, and or capturing family members and providing them some sort of status as well. i would just say though that it is our position to find a permanent solution. we are not interested in addressing this through piecemeal year after year renewals or anything less than a permanent solution. sen. grassley: what impact would such amnesty have on our nation's border security? sec. nielsen: it's almost separate issues. it would take 690,000 and place them into a permanent status of some sort. hopefully that will indicate to others that that group is alone and that we are not having a larger discussion.
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we have to balance with the folks that are here and the folks that decide to undertake the journey. so it will have the effect of addressing the population we are talking about, but i hope it doesn't have a negative effect of incentivizing others to come here in hopes of eventually receiving stuff. -- of receiving status. sen. grassley: senator feinstein? sen. feinstein: thanks. madam secretary, i want to ask you about this. a few weeks ago, it was reported that a one-year-old child was separated from his father when they presented themselves at the border. it appears -- and i don't know whether it is that this was not an isolated case. and that the administration is considering a proposal that would separate children from their parents at the southwest border. as i understand it, you have yet to sign off on this proposal. and your predecessor, john
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kelly, rightly rejected it. is this policy still under consideration, and what is your position? sec. nielsen: thank you for the question. i'm not familiar with the specific example that you provide, but i would just say under tbp ra, when an unaccompanied child or child presents itself at the border and we cannot confirm that they are with a parent, we have to follow the protocol's too assume -- to follow the protocol's too assume >> >> there's a possibility that they are trafficked. just to be clear, one is a policy, which it is a question i will get to. with respect to your question, we have not made any policy decisions. we are in a position where we are trying to be able to properly remove those we apprehend, but we find at the -- we find that the border is given a variety of court cases. we are forced in conjunction
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with hss to let children after 20 days, we can no longer detain them. what that means is once we release a child, we then release their parents as well. we are looking at a variety of ways to enforce our laws to discourage parents from bringing their children illegally. but no ma'am, no policy has been made on that and i would be happy to look at other alternatives. sen. feinstein: have bigger problem is this? -- how big of a problem is this? sec. nielsen: it's a big problem and we have seen a 30% increase in the last few months and a 68% increase in family units, which in some cases include very young children. sen. feinstein: what is the current policy as to how to handle this? say the child is young and part of the family. what happens? sec. nielsen: when we encounter the child, whether they're part of a family unit or not, we tried to detain them in a family unit, but in some cases given a variety of court cases, they are
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treated as an unaccompanied child. in that situation, we turn them over to health and human services after 72 hours. health and human services either looks for a parent located in the united states or another sponsor who will come forward and care for the child. if we are not able to bring that child to court within 20 days or otherwise adjust or determine their status, we must let them go. sen. feinstein: how many do you bring to court within 20 days? sec. nielsen: not enough. i don't have that figure. what we do find is that 90% of those released never show up for court. 90%. sen. feinstein: they just disappear? sec. nielsen: yes, ma'am. sen. feinstein: so what do you think the solution is? sec. nielsen: i think we have to look more broadly at all the different rules and how they are put together. i think we need a comprehensive approach. there are quite a few loopholes. for example, it should be clear
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if you are accompanied or not. if you are with your parents, you should be clear that you are with your parents. if you're unaccompanied, we need to look at that child in a different way. they should not receive additional benefits. they need protection, but they have not only to bites at the apple in terms of our immigration process, but they also have well over a year in which they can claim asylum. if you are an adult, you have a year in which you can claim asylum. sen. feinstein: you said they can claim asylum? sec. nielsen: the children. sen. feinstein: how young can you be and claim asylum? sec. nielsen: i wonder that myself. the point that you can be here many, many years as a so-called unaccompanied minor and then claim asylum. so there's -- it's a problem because the way that the coyotes and others have provided information to them, they realize there's a loophole. they can wait many, many years
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before they make that claim. frankly what that does is, it adds to our backlog. of hundreds of thousands of cases -- we hundreds of thousands of cases in our backlog. we have cases of those who truly need asylum, but they're buried within larger numbers of those who perhaps do not need asylum. sen. feinstein: how do you assess the size of this problem? is it a major problem or restricted to some areas and some groups of people? sec. nielsen: i would say it's a growing problem because unfortunately what we find through interviews of those that we do apprehend at the border, they have the magic words if you will of credible fear. the standard is quite low. that is something else we have asked as part of our discussions to work with congress on. there are those who truly fear for their lives. we need to be able to protect those. there are many others unfortunately we find who are trained by those who are trafficking them to just use those words. and given the laws and court cases, we must immediately treat them as if they are seeking
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asylum and put them into the system. sen. feinstein: how many children now do you have in custody in the situation? sec. nielsen: i get back to you. -- i can get back key. -- i can get back to you. sen. feinstein: i do appreciate that. the administration's decision to terminate temporary protected status for haiti, nicaragua, sudan, and el salvador looks like it's going to have a significant economic and humanitarian consequence. tps holders working key industries as you know, performing a lot of indispensable jobs, and they are important. additionally it looks like this is going to have an adverse effect on children. it is my understanding that around 273,000 u.s. citizen children have a parent who is a tps holder. it is my understanding that el
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salvador requested that this designation for its nationals continue, expressing concern about whether they can manage the return of some 200,000 individuals. can you just tell us some of the arguments that el salvador made in support of tps designation and why those were not persuasive? sec. nielsen: yes, ma'am. i did have the opportunity to speak to a variety of government officials from el salvador. our discussions, they were concerned about the time. in which it might take for them to be ready to bring back. generally about conditions, and i want to be clear on that. the law does not allow me to look at the country conditions of a country writ large. and requires me to look very specifically as to whether the country conditions originating from the original designation continue to exist. in this case, the 2001 hurricanes in el salvador.
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so we do not dispute the country conditions are difficult in el salvador, but unfortunately the law requires me if i cannot say that the conditions emanating from the earthquake still exist, regardless of other systemic conditions, i must terminate tps. the discussion was around the time period. the reason we delayed it for 18 months was because they were persuasive. sen. feinstein: you believe the law should be changed? this was meant to be a tempora status as a no. -- this was meant to be a temporary status. the difficulty with that is when people are here for 20 plus years in the case of el salvador. they have roots. they are contributing to the society and making our economy strong. we do need to look at this and find a better way to come up with a permanent solution. sen. feinstein: would you be willing to work with us? sec. nielsen: absolutely. sen. feinstein: good, thank you. i think i will end it there.
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thank you. sen. grassley: senator hatch. sen. hatch: thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to begin with religious worker visas, which are crucially important issue for my state. -- which are a crucially important issue for my state. i have been scheduled to meet with you and personnel on the issue, but unfortunately the meeting had to be canceled at the last minute. i'm hopeful it can be rescheduled soon. i'm planning to ask the director to consider revising the regulations to allow up like a petition for traditionally uncompensated missionaries and instances where the frequent
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-- in instances where the petitioning church is a frequent user and has a strong record of our compliances of rules and regulations. increased delays in our visas have had a sharply negative affect on our one visa applications and the important humanitarian and ecclesiastical work that they do. will you please follow up with the director and ask him to give the request for consideration? sec. nielsen: absolutely, yes sir. sen. hatch: this issue may not be a headline grabber, but it's tremendously important to me in my state and i will be pushing on it. i would like to turn the h-1b visas. the department is preparing to rescind a 2015 rule allowing spouses of h-1b visa holders to obtain work authorization if the
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h-1b visa holder is being sponsored for green card. i have to say that the 2015 rule seems to me to be a pretty sensible policy. it's the same policy reflected in my bipartisan immigration innovation act and the republican sponsored visa act that was reported out of house judiciary to congresses ago. -- two congresses ago. can you explain why dhs is planning to rescind this policy? sec. nielsen: we would be happy to work with you on that. i think broadly, we are looking at all the visa categories, which you know are numerous. unfortunately over the years in general, we gotten away with the intent of congress with the visa categories. we need to look holistically. h-1b -- i would be happy to get back to you specifically on that. sen. hatch: evaluating ways that
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-- reports indicate that the department is evaluating ways that it can stop granting three-year extensions for h-1b holders who are being sponsored for green cards. and, who are subject to lengthy delays because of her country per country green card limits. i believe congress previously addressed this issue in 2000 and indicated its intent to allow such extensions. can you tell me of the department is considering ways to stop granting these three-year extensions? and if so, why? i would also be interested to hear the department declaration -- the department's explanation of how ending these extensions squares with the 2000 law. sec. nielsen: thank you, sir. i'm not familiar with the very specific example, but will get back to you immediately after this. sen. hatch: ok, i appreciate that. i like to turn now to the issue of cyber security. this is a critically important part of the department's mission
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and one that demands close attention. last month, the assistant secretary for cyber security and communications announced that dhs is planning to significantly expand its engagement with the private sector to combat threats like the 2017 wannacry cyberattack attributed to north korea. can you provide specific examples of how you expect dhs's cyber security collaboration with the private sector to change following last month announcement? -- following the last month's announcement? sec. nielsen: sure. i will keep it short because i will be happy to talk about this all day and all the great things we are doing. in general, we're looking to do a couple things. we have come as you know, an automated indicator sharing program. we are looking to make sure that once we have identified threats that we can disseminate that in not only a way that's actionable but in a way that's tailored to different companies and different sectors.
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we are working with the private sector to understand what it is that's really critical. traditionally as you know, we've looked at 16 criminal -- 16 critical infrastructure sectors. given the interest conductivity of the world today, we're looking at a social functions that might cross sectors. so what is the function that is truly critical and how can we partner with the private sector to not only give them information unknown threats but to help them anticipate threats before they get there? in terms of network defenders, we need to continue to connect them. as we see these threats propagate around the world, the patching is extraordinarily important. i would say that the reason that we do not have many effects in the united states as we did in other places of the world was due to the good work of dhs and jeanette manfred in terms of making sure that communicated quickly with the private sector and that the appropriate patching was taken. this information sharing is making sure we are sharing in the right way.
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it's helping with vulnerability assessments and overall a green -- and overall, agreeing together what is critical and what is the best way we can protect it together. sen. hatch: continuing on this issue of cyber security, i would like to ask about active defense, which is sometimes inaccurately referred to as hacking back. active defense is a spectrum of proactive cyber security measures that falls somewhere between traditional passive defense and offense. some commentators believe that active defense is an appropriate -- inappropriate and current legal restrictions on practice -- on the practice are therefore oriented. warranted.efore others believe that active defense should be more widely available to the private sector. i've two questions for you. first is active defense is a department of -- a component of the departments work with the private sector?
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sec. nielsen: there is, but there is wide disagreement to what it means. we want to provide the tools and resources to the private sector to protect their systems. so, if we can anticipate or we are aware of a given threat, and as you know, we have gone to great lengths this year to work with the intel community to also include otherwise classified information with respect to malware and other types of infections. we want to give that to the private sector so they can proactively defend themselves before they are in fact attacked. sen. hatch: second, do you believe that current law imposes any unnecessary constraints on the private sector's ability to deploy active defense? sec. nielsen: i would say that i would be happy to work with your staff. it's rather complicated as you know. there's limitations with respect to liability and other questions with respect to insurance. and we do need to work with the private sector to understand if there's any barriers that would prevent them from taking measures to protect themselves
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and the american people. sen. hatch: turning to the department's counterterrorism efforts, in march 2017 report i -- by the inspector general of dhs, the intelligence community, and doj identified a series of concerns that the authors concluded made the enterprise less effective and valuable to the intelligence community that it could be. -- ban it could be. can you provide an update regarding the department's implementation of the ig reports specific recommendations and any other changes the department has made in the way of shares counterterrorism information? sec. nielsen: yes. first of all, i would like to say that the inspector general plays a vital role, especially at a department such as dhs with such a broad scope. it is certainly my intent to continue to work with the ig's office and to track all the recommendations and to make sure that we implement them.
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with respect to this particular report and the intelligence apparatus of dhs writ large, what we're looking to do is make our intel more requirement driven. in other words, what is it do the men and women on the front lines need? and then, let's look at how to gather and work with our intel partners on collection to provide that information. we are well past the point where we can be responsive and defenses after something happens. we need to be able to gather that information to prevent. so, it is moving towards an operational base and tell posture that would be requirement based on the threat. sen. hatch: ok. let me just say for nearly 20 years we have been talking about the dreamer population. we have been talking about border security for just as long. it's time we did something and there's a lot of disarmament in my colleagues to make a deal. to do that, we need to be realistic.
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to my democratic friends who say it's time to stop pushing for a clean dream act, it's a matter of simple political reality. it's not going to happen. to my republican friends who say we will not get the sun and the stars, we should push for the best deal we can get, but let's not be the enemy of the good. let's be realistic. my time is up, but i actually think that we can get this done and i hope that you will be helpful in doing so. sec. nielsen: yes, sir. not only is it my great hope, but i would like to again reiterate that i am happy to work with any member who would like to work on this with the department of homeland security. is a very, very important issue. sen. hatch: thank you. sen. grassley: senator leahy. sen. leahy: seeing you again here in appropriations committee. you mentioned a report just issued that two individuals were convicted of terrorism.
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and that they were foreign-born. most of them were convicted during the bush administration and the obama administration. very few during this administration. how many of them -- does your report say how many of them came from countries subject to the travel ban and how long each of them had been in this country? sec. nielsen: i don't have that information at hand. >> will you get to me how many of them by the numbers were and subject to the travel ban? and what was the amount of time they had been here? that thatextent information is available, yes. sen. leahy: the number of convictions, you certainly should have numbers. where they were from and how long they have been here. sec. nielsen: often times, what we might have is where they came
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from, because that is what their visa was indicate. -- what their visa would indicate. so yes. sen. leahy: getting the convictions as a prosecutor, they would have in their reports how long they have been here and what they were doing. now last week in the oval office, president trump reportedly said some of the most lgar and racist things i have ever heard from any president of any party. i have never heard any president utter anything even similar. now he denies using the specific word, and there has been some, maybe he used a different word and maybe he didn't. madam secretary, you were in that room and you are under oath. did president trump use this word or a substantially similar word to describe certain countries? sec. nielsen: i did not hear that word used. sen. leahy: that is not the question. did he use anything similar
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describing countries? sec. nielsen: it was very impassioned. i do not dispute that the president was using tough language. others in the room were also using tough language. if i could, the context in which this came up was the concept that the president would like to move to a merit-based system. he would like to not no longer look at quotas -- sen. leahy: did he use what would be considered vulgar language? sec. nielsen: the president used -- sen. leahy: you imply the president was articulating support for a merit-based immigration system like those in australia or canada. but when he denigrated haiti, el salvador, africa, a country
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where we are trying to have some ability to match china and others in influence, he did not say it is because we need more phd students or skilled workers. he said he wanted more people from norway. being from norway is not a skill. with the standard of living in norway better than ours, you will not have too many people moving from their. -- moving from there. what does he mean when he says he wants more immigrants from norway? sec. nielsen: i do not believe he said that specifically. he was using norway as an example of a country -- what he was specifically referring to was the prime minister telling him that the people of norway worked very hard. and so what he was referencing is from a merit-based perspective, we would like to have those with skills that can assimilate with the united states, moving away from quotas and to an individual merit-based system.
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sen. leahy: norway is a predominately white country, isn't it? sec. nielsen: i actually do not know that, sir, but i imagine that is the case. sen. leahy: now the obama administration focused its limited enforcement -- and everyone has to admit, the ability for enforcement is limited. you cannot handle every single thing. sec. nielsen: that is correct. sen. leahy: the obama administration focused on those who posed public safety threats. president trump has expanded those. now he adds those who could be charged with a crime as a priority. that means millions of undocumented immigrants are subject to removal. they are a priority for removal.
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one of the things i learned as a prosecutor, if everyone is a priority, nobody is a priority because you cannot do them all. texas border control agents detained a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy on her way to a hospital for surgery. one hell of a threat she was. in ohio, a sole caregiver of a paraplegic six-year-old boy is facing deportation. just yesterday in michigan, a man brought to this country at the age of 10 was deported after living here for over 30 years, torn away from his wife and children who are u.s. citizens. he has never committed a crime and he pays his taxes every year. now that is how we are using our limited enforcement resources, is to strike fear in the hearts of everybody who does anything wrong or not, telling them they
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could be targeted at any time? i am sure that 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy is scared. sec. nielsen: first of all, i am not sure we would agree on the facts of that texas case, but we are happy to -- sen. leahy: submit the facts. sec. nielsen: she was not detained. we actually helped her to the hospital and turned her over to hhs. but to your larger question, what we focus on in terms of enforcement priorities are those who have committed crimes and those with final orders of removal. our statistics show that is what we are doing. last year, 92% of those that were arrested and taken into custody by ice were criminals. i understand that there will always be exceptions. there is a lot of misunderstandings in the press. i would be happy to work with you at any time in case there is any concern. sen. leahy: we do ask questions of your department, and on occasion we have gotten answers.
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let's try and get answers to all of them. the president says he wants to build a big, beautiful wall and mexico will pay for it. the president has promised mexico will pay for it. can we open an account that mexico can put the money into and pay for it? what -- i am sure the president would not make that promise and not tell the truth. what arrangements do we have with mexico to pay for it? sec. nielsen: as the secretary of homeland security, i am concerned about getting the frontline operating -- sen. leahy: do you know if we have arrangements with mexico to pay for it? sec. nielsen: we have arrangements to secure our border. sen. leahy: do we have arrangements to pay for the wall, as president trump promised the american people? it is an easy answer, yes or no. sec. nielsen: i don't know what you mean by arrangement. sen. leahy: making them pay for wall.
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sec. nielsen: do you mean through fees? there is a variety of ways. sen. leahy: usually when something is paid for, you pay for it with money. sec. nielsen: i understand that. i am saying there are many ways to do that. sen. leahy: are they paying for a wall? sec. nielsen: my priority is to increase border security and build that wall that will work. that is my priority. sen. leahy: and talk about that. cbp estimates building a wall would take land from 900 ranchers and other landowners. that is just two counties. i will insert that letter, chairman, in the record. sen. grassley: without objection. so ordered. sen. leahy: what is your estimate of the number of eminent domain cases against ranchers and other american land owners that would be required in order to build a wall? sec. nielsen: sir, the initial wall we are building right now is replacement wall.
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-- is a replacement wall. i could not possibly give you how many people will decide in the future to have an issue with eminent domain. sen. leahy: if you build a wall on the u.s. side of the border, you have to create a no man's land between the wall and rio grande river. how many acres of american land do we have to cede to mexico to do that? sec. nielsen: we have to look at the accessibility. tailor right, we have to the solutions for each part of the border to make sure we do not have to do anything unnecessary, whether that is additional land acquisition. sen. leahy: if we do not have an agreement with mexico to pay for it, and if as they say, a wall is last century's technology, with that $18 billion, how many more cbp agents could you hire,
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or tsa screeners to shorten lines and airports which have become ridiculous? how many coast guard cutters could you build in order to rescue those at sea and protect our ports? sec. nielsen: all i can tell you is that walls work. we have examples of that, we have documented data, and i do not know about anyone saying it is last generation's technology. in 2006, we had a bipartisan agreement for the secure fence act, which obama, clinton, and schumer all voted for. so i disagree that it is last generations technology. sen. leahy: so that wall was built. we are talking about a wall the length of our country. sec. nielsen: we are not. the president has made that clear. sen. leahy: i am not going to play back a lot of his campaign speeches to you about a wall, a great, big, beautiful wall, the length of our southern border paid for by mexico.
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i have heard a lot of promises in my decades here, and want to see this one fulfilled. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. grassley: since you were at the same meeting i was at tuesday, the president said 700 miles additional wall. sec. nielsen: 722, yes, sir. initial down payment. sen. grassley: senator cornyn. sen. cornyn: thank you for your willingness to take on probably one of the most difficult jobs in the united states government and one of the most important. i want to continue my line of questioning for my friend from vermont about the border security. it is no surprise to you that i come from a state that has 1200 miles of common border with mexico, and what we are talking about is what measures will be put into place to provide border security, which my constituents all want.
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they want security. and so, i have been struck by your use of the phrase "wall system" and just want to explore with you a little bit what you mean by that. one of the people i have taken advice from is the rio grande valley border manny padilla, who has told me that in his vast experience in the border patrol, it is composed of three elements. infrastructure is important. you can call it a secure fence as we did in 2006, or a wall. it includes not only that infrastructure, but technology and of course the border patrol agents to be able to respond, sensors when they go off or radar and the like. is that what you mean when you
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talk about a "wall system?" some configuration of those components -- infrastructure, technology, and personnel? sec. nielsen: yes, sir. the president asked us to look at operational control of the border. the wall system is infrastructure as you described, and it is also closing those loopholes that we can promptly remove those we interject. -- those we interdict. we look at four main mission sets -- impedance and denial, partly granted by that infrastructure. we look at domain awareness, which are the cameras, the sensors, etc.. we look at accessibility so border patrol agents can respond to threats, and mission readiness, having the personnel ready to do the job. sen. cornyn: because of the impact to local communities in texas and elsewhere along the border, do you have any objection to consulting with local stakeholders as they try
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to come up with perhaps innovative solutions to deal with the border security challenge? sec. nielsen: it is an open invitation. the only way that we will be able to protect the border is by working with state and local officials as well owners and the private sector. sen. cornyn: i was in the rio grande valley on friday, saturday, and sunday, hunting the ever elusive wild texas quail. and i did happen to go over to a wildlife sanctuary on friday, which is a unique tourist attraction and one that is located within several hundred yards of the texas border. what i am told there is the smugglers, the transnational criminal organizations you alluded to, see that as a vulnerability and so obviously, we need to meet that challenge. i know that chief padilla and others are working hard to do that, but we need to be sensitive to the concerns the local community has about a huge
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economic element there, and something that we entertain a lot of folks from up north, they call affectionately snowbirds down there when it is cold up north. they come down south. it is great for them, great for the economy, great for jobs. that would be one example of a need to work collaboratively with the mobile community and local stakeholders, as well as state and local officials to come up with the right solution. a few years back in hidalgo, texas, hidalgo county, texas, using that same local stakeholder input approach we were able to come up with a win-win proposition. you are familiar with a levee wall? sec. nielsen: yes, sir. sen. cornyn: there was a need to improve the levee system and protect property values, and to make flood insurance affordable,
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but in consultation, jd salinas, the county judge put a bond election on the ballot and came up with a dual use system which provided that levee improvement and also provided a wall in critical areas that the border patrol said they needed in order to slow down the flow of illegal immigration and drug trafficking and the like. that is just one example of what i consider a win-win proposition, and where one size does not fit all. i appreciate your willingness to work with all of us to come up with those kind of win-win situations where possible. chief padilla told me that the majority of people coming across the border who were detained in the rio grande valley sector are from central america. i cannot remember the exact percentage, but it is high as you know. what these traffickers are doing
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is exploiting a vulnerability in our system. we passed the trafficking victims protection reauthorization act to protect children from human trafficking, a highly worthy cause. traffickers have now figured out that since children who come from central america are treated differently than other people who enter the country illegally, they have found a way to exploit it, and i believe you mentioned that 90% of them who were notified of the future court hearing on their claim for asylum never show up. that is a real glitch. i know there has been some attention paid, not enough in my view, to the threat of criminal gangs that exploit this vulnerability as well. i was told by chief padilla that they have ms 13 gang members as young as 12 years old. from 12 to 17, you would still qualify as a minor.
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let me ask, if border patrol identifies by the tattoos were other signs on somebody under 18, that they are likely a member of a criminal gang, are they permitted to detain them or are they required to treat them the same way they would every other minor child and place them with a sponsor ultimately, only to have them never show up for their court hearing? are criminal gang members who happen to the minors treated differently? sec. nielsen: unfortunately, no, we have to treat them the same. if we have the information provided by hhs, and we have them. it is a problem. we need to look at remove ability in general to make sure we can address the gang problem. we see gangs all the way from new york recruiting illegal immigrants and children to come
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across the border for the purposes of joining ms 13. sen. cornyn: when we talk about unaccompanied children, people think about very young children of tender age. they do not think about a 17-year-old member of a criminal gang like ms 13 exploiting this very same vulnerability. i have every confidence that you and the trump administration is going to do what you say you were going to do when it comes to border security. and it is -- i believe it is our responsibility as members of congress to provide you the resources and tools, and make the appropriate changes in the law so that you can do what needs to be done. i know there have been requirements for border assessments in the past, but do you have any objection to congress as part of this negotiated border security part of the daca fix, so-called, mandating that the department come up with a plan that would
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provide for 100% situational awareness and operational control of the border? sec. nielsen: no, sir, i don't. i would encourage -- if you have not had the opportunity to look at the border security investment plan, there is some detail in there, but under main awareness, absolutely. sen. cornyn: i think it would be important to put that in the law, because of course when the administrations change, different administrations have different priorities in terms of border security and the like. and i would like to make sure the focus of this administration remains part of the congressional mandate in the law. so i would look forward to working with you on that. i know there has been some discussion of the daca population, and certainly i, together with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis, want to find a solution for these young adults who came here as minor children and through no fault of their own, find themselves in a dead
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end. i do know there was a court decision which created some confusion the other day. it strikes me as wildly wrong to say that president obama can create a program and that president trump cannot end it. because it is certain that executive authority would seem to be the same. can you tell us about the plans of the administration to appeal that, or how you plan to address it? sec. nielsen: as the department of homeland security, we defer to the department of justice who are looking at a variety of ways to respond to that. what i can tell you is that dhs is complying with the court order. we have begun to accept renewals for daca. we are treating the program as pre-september last year, so if you are a current daca recipient you can currently reapply while we are pending this court action. sen. grassley: senator durbin.
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sen durbin: i would like to ask the indulgence of the committee to introduce two guests i have brought today. alejandra duran is a student. please stand. she grew up in savannah, georgia. she volunteers at a clinic, educating uninsured patients about disease prevention. her dream is to become an ob/gyn working in underserved communities. she is protected by daca. thank you very much. her future is in doubt. without the protection of daca, she does not have legal permission to work in america. you cannot become a doctor without residency. a residency is a job. if daca is eliminated and her protection and right to work are eliminated, her future as a doctor are in doubt. john came from venezuela at the
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age of nine. in high school, he was commander of the air honor society and the jrotc. he graduated from georgia tech, one of the best engineering schools in america, with a degree in chemical and bioelectrical engineering with highest honors. he now works as a chemical engineer. his dream is to serve in the united states military. john, thanks for being here. that is what this debate is all about. that is what daca is all about. there has been a lot of talks -- a lot of talk about terrorists in america. stand as one, not as republicans or as democrats. we stand as one, saying let's keep america safe, but for goodness sake, not at the expense of the young people like those i just introduced. that is what the debate is all about. madam secretary, i hope you remember me. we were together at two meetings last week. i would like to ask you about one of those meetings. it occurred about noon on
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january the 11th. you were a few minutes late, i know, and asked forgiveness but were called at the last minute to come and attend. some things were said at that meeting which i believe we have to address today. people across the united states and around the world want to know what this president believes should be our priorities when it comes to immigration. i'm going to ask you, as best you can, to recall what you heard the president say when it came to those priorities. what do you remember the president saying about immigration from african countries to the united states? what i heard him saying was -- it shouldn't matter what you can contribute to the united states. sen. durbin: how did he characterize those countries in africa? sec. nielsen: i do not specifically remember categorization of countries in africa.
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i think what he was saying, as best i can tell, and there were about a dozen people in the room and a lot of cross conversations and rough talk by a lot of people in the room, but what i understood him to be saying is let's move away from the countries and let's look at the individual, and make sure that those we bring here can contribute to our society. sen. durbin: do you remember the president saying expressly, i want more europeans, why can't we have more immigrants from norway? sec. nielsen: i do remember him asking about the concept of underrepresented countries. as a fix, this is in the conversation about removing the diversity lottery and how we could reallocate that. and i do remember him asking, if we do that and we then sign -- we then assign those countries that are unrepresented, aren't we just continuing nonmerit based immigration? from that perspective, i think he did ask, would that cover
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european countries or would that mean that we are further establishing immigration to purposefully exclude europeans? sen. durbin: what did the president say specifically about immigrants from norway? sec. nielsen: that they are industrious, a hard-working country. they don't have much crime there. they do not have much debt. i heard him giving compliments to norway. sen. durbin: you said on fox news the president used strong language. what was that? sec. nielsen: strong language, apologies. i do not remember a specific word. what i was struck with was just the general profanity that was used in the room by almost everyone. sen. durbin: did you hear me use profanity? sec. nielsen: no, sir. neither did i. sen. durbin: did you hear senator graham use profanity? sec. nielsen: he used tough language. sen. durbin: what did he say? sec. nielsen: he was impassioned about the issue. i think he was using some strong language.
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i think he was feeling very strongly about the issue, and to underscore a point, is used strong language. sen. durbin: do you recall that the strong language used repeated exactly what the president said prior to that? sec. nielsen: i remember specific cuss words being used by a variety of members. sen. durbin: i am not going to ask you to say those words here, but senator graham spoke up in a way that i respect very much, countering what the president head said about countries in africa, riding the president -- reminding the president that his family did not come to america with great skills or wealth but they came here as most families do, looking for a chance to prove themselves and make this a better nation. in defense of senator graham, his strong words repeated exactly the strong words used by the president which you cannot remember. let me ask you another question. sec. nielsen: i do want to say that i greatly appreciate senator graham's leadership and yours. you are both very passionate. afterwards, i approached you and
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said i'm happy to come talk to you anytime to come work on this deal. i think senator graham very passionately described what he believes america is about and what we should move towards. yes, i agree with that. sen. durbin: do you support a path to citizenship for daca recipients and those in the dream act? sec. nielsen: i think we have to find a permanent solution, yes, sir. sen. durbin: do you support a path to citizenship? sec. nielsen: i believe as part of the discussion and to make sure we do not continue temporary populations that continue to exist. we should talk about that. i'm not here to get in front of the president or any final decisions, but i am happy to discuss it. sen. durbin: you recall the president saying he wanted $20 billion now and he would build this law within one year? -- he would build this wall within one year? sec. nielsen: i remember him saying that he was concerned, given the appropriation cycle, that any deal he made now would be limited to this years appropriations. i remember him asking if there is a way to authorize the full down payment of the wall such
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that we can have assurances that we can build it. sen. durbin: let's take a look at what your department has done. as of december 6, 2017, less than 1% of the $341 million appropriated for 40 miles of replacement funding had been expended. actual construction has yet to begin. is the president realistic when he says he wants $20 billion or -- $20 billion so he can build the wall in one year? sec. nielsen: i think the president is encouraging us to go as quickly as we can. it is a very complicated issue, building the wall, for a variety of reasons. what we are doing right now is, we are testing and evaluating those prototypes, and will continue to determine not only the design, but what is backed -- what is best for any particular part of the border, because it will be different. we need a full toolkit. sen. durbin: madam secretary, the president made it clear in
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that meeting that one of the conditions for his assent to protect daca was $20 billion so he could build this wall in one year. the fate of john and alejandra lies in the balancendra. -- lies in the balance, here. the president is insisting on something that is physically impossible to give them a chance to be in the united states legally. you commented on it on fox news, the proposal which senator graham and i and other senators made on a bipartisan basis, and you rejected it. you said at one point, i believe -- there is nothing in there that would prevent us from getting here again. are you aware that included in this proposal is the entire request of the administration for border security and this fiscal year, $1.6 billion for walls, barriers, and fences, and another $1 billion for
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technology, exactly what you ask for? if you do not believe this will solve the problem, why did them administration requested? sec. nielsen: we also requested to close the loophole that surveys the factors that exacerbate the problem. i cannot apprehend if i cannot remove. sen. durbin: the first meeting we had last week, we agreed, and the president agreed there were the two phases to this conversation, the first to deal with the daca challenge and the three other elements. sec. nielsen: including border security. sen. durbin: every penny that you asked for. then the president said phase two goes into comprehensive immigration reform, many of the issues you described as must haves. to put the entire burden of immigration reform on the
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shoulders of these daca recipients is fundamentally unfair and jeopardizes their future and lives. we are trying to do an honest and bipartisan approach to deal with the first phase of this, and you rejected it. sec. nielsen: i thank you for your passion. i hope you understand mine. i cannot agree to a deal that does not give the tools and resources of homeland security to do what they need to do. sen. durbin: we gave you every penny you asked for. sec. nielsen: it is closing the loopholes. sen. durbin: can we cut back on some of this money? we could use it. sec. nielsen: we need the wall, too. the wall works. it's part of border security. sen. grassley: senator tillis. sen. tillis: in a meeting that i thought was productive, we were in a room with about a dozen of us. i do not think the gap is that wide if we sit down and lower the temperatures. what is the distance between the pacific ocean and the gulf coast, the entire miles of
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border? sec. nielsen: over 2000 miles. sen. tillis: geographically, it is even a bit more? sec. nielsen: it is. sen. tillis: around 2300. when your full plan for the border security is implemented, how much of that will be on a wall versus fences or other structures? sec. nielsen: there is three different infrastructures we talk about, a primary wall, a secondary wall, and infrastructure in the form of access roads or the mobility piece of the mission. the current down payment request a 722 miles, so that his -- request is 722 miles, so that is replacement and secondary and new wall. sen. tillis: when this is fully built out, would you ever envision -- things the president said in front of the press that he has dispensed with this notion of the monolithic, one-size-fits-all wall? sec. nielsen: yes. sen. tillis: i do not know why people go to campaign promises.
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both parties tend to have a little bit of florida should when they are on the stump. it seems to me the president's game, he listened to the people down at the border and determined that the department has a good idea that involves people, technology, and infrastructure. would it be fair to say in the face of the direct comments and the data from the department that it would be disingenuous to suggest anybody is proposing a large, monolithic wall? sec. nielsen: yes. that would be disingenuous. sen. tillis: but stock about the -- but let's talk about the pull factor, because if you are nothing else from the amnesty of 1986, you learn if you do not address the pull factor at all you have done with the amnesty is invite a lot more people in waiting for the next amnesty. what has been your experience since we started talking about daca, of border crossings over the last few months? sec. nielsen: we have to reduce those pull factors and some of those are the loopholes.
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so again, i just cannot -- >> hard for them to get here, hard for them to go. sec. nielsen: yes. even for those we interdict and apprehend, it takes over two years to get them through the system. sen. tillis: what is our batting average on actually removing when someone gets into the system? sec. nielsen: it is fairly low, fairly low. yes. i king did she do -- can get you an exact figure. >> we have the sender who mentioned the gang members. majority ofhat a people crossing the border are not, but a majority of them find themselves in a hispanic community after they get here? >> yes.
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went to the area senator cornyn was reviewing, we talk about those who are part of a tco who raided a house where they may have pre-positioned them. groups go back and forth and it is a danger to the mexican side and our side, as we ll. ed down to cornyn l border patrol agents who were in the helicopter were shot at. you have the door with the hole in it in the briefing room. a lot of people think that the deep, but is wide and it is narrow and shallow. you are 40-50 yards away,
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how would you characterize laredo? thatcouldn't tell you compared to others. the occurrences of attacks and violence against my agents has increased 63%. we will prosecute. this has got to stop. i will not put my folks in danger. >> it is dangerous and very porous. it is very dangerous. it seems odd to me that someone would not support providing you all of the tools to keep the border patrol and communities safe. there are bad people who cross the border daily. until we get serious, we will safe.ommunities less
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the president is serious about securing the nation, as he should be. the proposal you were presented with, tell me what the major deficiencies were. we seems to have four things ironed out. what occurred? >> i do not have a written proposal from that meeting. briefing from the that meeting and my staff has continued to work with staff and's that time.
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>> what were the major deficiencies? >> the concept the border security is only the wall and i would add that i have also learned that that bill goes further and removes my ability prohibiting the use of any current technology on the border. that doesn't make any sense. i cannot build the wall. issue is that it is not completely accurate to say that we have provided all of the funding that you have wanted. we have not addressed the administration's request for the next fiscal year. we are not looking at what you longer-term with authorizations and this fits into what you want to immediately start securing the border and also to try to dampen
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factors along the way. critically important to securing the border, is that correct? >> absolutely. >> what do you really need? you have people saying it is just a single appropriation and cannot go out and hire of a lot of people and hope you have the funding a year out. what do you really need with people components. andalk about the structure compliance and enforcement. on the people side of things, what will we need over the next 3-5 years? another 1000 -- will need another 1000 and
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lawyers for processing. , howed to look at hiring to quickly higher and retain. i would like to come back with you, if there is any that you need. the enormousck by number of successful crossings that include illicit drugs. means that there are ,illions of doses of poison whether it is heroine or methamphetamine the, you can go down the list. is that correct? how much of the border land is to increase -- i know through technology, they are talking about increasing searches through vehicles to have insights what is inside of them -- but how much of this plan is
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focused on accelerating that to get ahead of narco terrorism? >> this addresses all of the it is not onlynd the illicit trafficking of drugs. it is any other threats that might come across and reports show that we need to do more screening and vetting. >> we propose a balanced proposal to solve this problem way.compassionate we need to be compassionate with the threats to our community and homeland. the threat to the people who come across the border who are dying. who knows how many thousands have died trying? we need to end to the
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trafficking in the narco terrorism. you can only do that when everybody recognizes that securing the border is an absolutely appropriate request to solve this problem and it will make it less likely that we will have an uncertain population coming back and revisiting daca. thank you for being here and for your service. whitehouse: cyber security is a place where you have issues, is that correct? >> yes. >> do you believe there are efforts by congress to address the gaps? had a variety of conversations about reorganizing pd, starting with the name.
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>> something more significant than that that you might think we should do, other than changing names and structures. >> it is not just a bureaucratic structure. nobody knows what they do. do you? that is my point. >> the name is important, anything else? >> we need to look at other ways to share information to use information we have done from the intel community. >> congress should allow that? ininappropriate -- appropriate circumstances, yes. that in respect to cyber? is there a specific proposal we could consider, instead of trying to augment the authorities you need?
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>> we have technical assistance we have provided, but we are happy to go through with th is. proposals from congress to amend legislation that we have proposed to make this work effectively in your system? i do not think it is properly characterized as if those old i the executive ranch. whattrying to figure out the executive branch is proposing. >> we do not have a proposal. >> i would urge that you consider it. cyber is a real issue and the silence from the administration with respect to legislative recommendations is deafening. you have talked about protecting critical infrastructure. what is your view of the adequacy of the security for the
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electric grid that is presently nistded by the framework? >> this encourages owners and operators of electric utilities to take various measures. service iselectric cyberattack? how can you ensure the nist framework does that? voluntary.ework is >> in other words? >> we need to keep up with that. >> what would make it more than voluntary. what are you looking for? >> i think that voluntary works, but i cannot guarantee that we have full security.
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>> your answer to me was that this is voluntary. >> it is. to make sure that we are addressing the threats of today and not years of no. >> to you think that this framework, on its own, without legislation from congress, is adequate for americans to rely on? .> it needs to be updated >> is that something you are what you do on your own? >> i believe it is some thing nist-- it is a thing that is doing on their own and we will provide them with guidance. >> i am making this a question for the record, but i would love to know what guidance authority the department has given and if
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there is any legislative effort that you think is required to support this framework. i would like to have that. i do not think this is an unfair question. do you? >> i do not. cybersecurity continues to expand under the authorities we have and i think that this is worth further discussion. election interference, does the department of homeland security have a role in election interference? >> we have 11 states where we are conducting vulnerability assessments and we have prepared for any other requests and we will make sure it occurs before the next election site will.
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>> was their russian interference in the 2016 elections and can we anticipate further interference in the 2018 elections? >> i believe that russia will test our systems and, where they can extract information and disrupt, they will. >> yes and yes? >> yes, there was interference and no votes were changed. we can expect a variety of actors to test hours is to. >> what steps are you taking to protect the 2018 elections from that continued interference? >> there are the risk and vulnerability assessments we are offering within our protection framework to provide guidance to help states and localities. >> that was to the 21 states
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that there has been hacking of the machinery. >> the guidance i am talking about is looking at full systems and going all the way back to the supply chain concerns through the dissemination of votes. >> the reports that have looked at this, like the atlantic have allnd csis reported that the avenues of russian election interference are not limited to a specific cyber intrusion -- cyberintrusion. propaganda,volve driveews, phony people to information efforts to american companies, like facebook and google.
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are you interested in those means of interference or are you limited in your effort to a intofic cyberintrusion cast?ine where a vote is >> we are working with partners on a broader issue of russian propaganda and russian insertion. >> do you have a better name for it? >> that is what it is. do you have any related to help protect us from continued interference? >> i do not believe that we need any additional of doherty, but we will follow-up. authority, butal
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we will follow-up. that were comfortable are protected from russians doing all the things i've mentioned in a 2018 election? >> no. >> why would you say that we are ready? provides support and guidance and will continue to do so. >> you are testified that the department of homeland security has no role in protecting the country. >> that is not what i said. we are providing guidance and support. it is the role and the responsibility of the state to ensure the election process.
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it sounds to me that you see the federal role as subordinate to the role of the states and the role of your department is only whatevere ryden's and other support you are offering. >> guidance, support, vulnerability, and risk assessment. yes. >> we are trying to address the broader conversation. >> you are engaged in the federal processes? >> yes. has there --
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>> i want to follow-up with the questions as the ranking on the committee. to hack into election equipment and a lot of election officials did not know about it for. -- for months. we found a way to fund this to help states ramp up their efforts to protect election equipment with backup paper ballot. are you aware of this? bill and ire of this look forward to helping you on it.
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concerned about resources and looking at ways we can support them is necessary. >> very good. to me, this is a fundamental of our day. when the president disbanded in his commission on election integrity, he called on you to review the findings. are you going to be spending time working on this issue? i do not think it is in your jurisdiction. have a larger question of
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ifer fraud and some of it is and there isexist thosentary system where who are not registered to vote vote. we will work with states to determine if voters are appropriately registered for federal elections. it is voluntary and available on request. you are also going to work on this issue of registrations. somebody allows us to. >> you will have the focus of the department the on legitimate
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threat to this system. >> yes. >> i will go back to what i was talking about earlier and was not going into this until i listened to the exchange with durbin, who has a lot of integrity and i listened to your answers under oath that you did not hear -- and i am not anng to give it a giddy -- y dignity. s-hole.ll it word and youe did not hear it? se? he say s-hou
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>> the meeting was not scheduled and i was notified and had to clear my schedule. i came in a bit late. i cannot testify to what i do not know. >> i appreciate that. words like this matter. profane words were not appropriate and they were not used by the president. the conversation, although passionate, had not and to a place where many people were using inappropriate language in front of the president. >> is it true that senator graham pushed back? a passionate speech on what he believes are american ideals. yes.
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>> let's get to the matter of daca. that theseagree children came here through no alt of their own and we have thousands of young people who have lost their status and are left with uncertainty. can you give assurances that the administration is not going to pursue actions against young people who have had their status spire while this court order is in effect? current, you have status. nobody loses status until march 5 or later. where there circumstances the administration would remove a then a fish erie? >> not unless they have committed a crime. we have had some who have and are targeted for deportation.
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>> is there a circumstance where the administration would have removed a recipient before this? >> not if they had maintained status. if there is a crime, that is different. >> i had asked about schools in a previous hearing. engaged on eliminations of daca? >> i will get back to you. this is part of the ongoing covers nation full of absolutely. schoolt of them are in and i just asked you to look into that. it is a major concern. moving into a
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different area. steel beinggal placed on our shores and we have tools to ensure entities are competing fairly. in tariffschanges last year and the year before. what is the done to level the playing field for manufacturers. shipmentsked about being brought over. we're working with the trade representative to see what could be warranted to ensure that we identified via a legal or iscits transfer and there
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shipments. illegal shipenvisioned where the would be sent to way and i think we have to be making a point were this is going on and will follow of. to hopentroduced an act customs and border agents and our bill was endorsed by the opioid commission and i hope that this will advance in the senate. will you commit to working with us? >> absolutely and i hope to implement it on passage. thes happy to see this at
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beginning of the conversation and i look forward to working with you to passing that. billother priority is this that addresses shortages in rural areas that allows physicians to remain in the u.s. for three years of service in an underserved area, meaning in urban or rural hospital. i think chairman grassley for working with me. are you aware of this and will you commit to working with me on this legislation on an issue that i raised with general kelly when he was in your chair. >> there is a continued demonstrated need. let us find a way to meet it. >> last year, there was a decision to suspend premium
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including what was scheduled as a result of the delay. do you know if steps have been taken to ensure that an additional suspension will not take place in the future? >> i did not, but i am happy to get back to you. and am to put on the record -- by al by and live liberian. he makes a point well here about the great addition so >> thank you mr. chairman.
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i want to join you in thanking the dedicated men and women who work in the department of homeland security. at substantial risk. i have met many of them and i think your pride in their work is well justified. i am interested in a number of the statistics that you have provided. i did not find them in your testimony. you said there has been a 30% increase in ice arrest. 30% increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the border between october and december. sen. blumenthal: has there been a number of ice arrest -- sec. nielsen: yes. i believe it's around 30%. sen. blumenthal: so ice is arresting more people who are undocumented in this country.
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you agree that many of them have no criminal records because the priorities of the department of homeland security have changed so that there no longer is a priority on individuals with criminal records being arrested? sec. nielsen: actually, that is not true. the clarity rate -- the priority remains. 92% of those removed last year were criminals. sen. blumenthal: when you say criminals -- they have criminal convictions? sec. nielsen: correct. sen. blumenthal: or felonies? sec. nielsen: yes. sen. blumenthal: so that means 8% had orders of removal? sec. nielsen: 92% is together. i'm saying, the priority of the department are those with final orders of removal and criminals. that number is 92%. sen. blumenthal: why would like you to get back to me with more
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precise inexact numbers. our experiences many individuals who have been in this country, playing by the rules, paying taxes, working hard, raising taxes, they may have orders for removal but they have appeared regularly at department of andland security checks they are notified suddenly without any real notice that they are going to be deported. one, to come or three weeks from the time they appear. eager that you respond to my letters on that topic. i have received no response. i have written also about apparent dhs policies on sensitive locations in terms of arrest at places where, according to policy, there should not be arrest including courthouses, churches, and other
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laces that are regarded as sensitive locations. if a woman of domestic abuse seeks shelter at law enforcement, police statement may be fearful of doing so if she is undocumented and she is threatened with deportation. it works against proper law enforcement also in terms of people who may have leave without crime or are seeking to report crimes. i would like answers to my letters of october 17, and november 13 on that topic. sec. nielsen: we would be happy to clarify some of that information that needs to be clarified. happy to do so. sen. blumenthal: let me ask you about the testimony that you gave. on ourhe russian attack democracy. you would agree russian meddling
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in our election constituted an attack on our democracy, correct? sec. nielsen: it is highly concerning. i want to be careful about the word attack, but yes. sen. blumenthal: there is no question that it happened i massive scale. you would agree with the intelligence committee. sec. nielsen: i have no reason to doubt that. sen. blumenthal: would you agree also that the russians need to pay a price otherwise they will repeat it? yes weelsen: i believe, need to put all kinds of activity in place not only to prevent them but to deter their behavior. sen. blumenthal: and any american who supported or aided that attack, call it interference or meddling if you prefer that word, should also be held accountable, correct? sec. nielsen: should be held accountable in some way. sen. blumenthal: there are laws that prohibit conspiracy when the law if i laid it, correct? sec. nielsen: as far as i know.
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yes sir. sen. blumenthal: so at a minimum, through the law of conspiracy or through the computer fraud and abuse act or money laundering, those individuals who supported or aided or abetted russian interference should be held accountable, correct? sec. nielsen: yes. sen. blumenthal: would you agree the investigation by the special counsel is not a hoax or a witchhunt? sec. nielsen: i believe i believee nations -- investigations by special counsel's are important. sen. blumenthal: and the investigation by robert mueller is necessary and appropriate. sec. nielsen: yes sir. sen. blumenthal: and should be protected from political interference? sec. nielsen: on all sides. yes. sen. blumenthal: i want to ask you about puerto rico. i visited puerto rico twice and see hurricane. i think that the federal
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response there has been shamefully and disgracefully inadequate. isost half of the island still without electricity, much of the water is undrinkable. many of the major roads are impassable. is on the brink of failure. half of the hotels are still closed and many of the manufacturing plants are going to move out of the island and manufacturing is a mainstay of its economy, if electricity is not restored. when i first visited, i was told that electricity will be restored by december. in my latest visit, a couple of weeks ago, the date had shifted to march. i would like a commitment from you that you and the department, through fema and coordinating
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with the corps of engineers will give us a date by which electricity will be restored. sec. nielsen: you have my commitment to give you the best guess that we have in terms of estimating the time of restoration. sen. blumenthal: people of puerto rico deserve more than a guess. sec. nielsen: they do sir. it is more complicated than that. we have to account for terrain, aging infrastructure. and a rioting of -- and a variety of issues. senator blumenthal: last week i wrote to fema, specifically the administrator brock long, because of reports and we verified them with people in connecticut that they have been told that the transitional shelter assistance program will be ended for them because their homes are now tatterable in -- now habitable in puerto rico
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despite the absence of water, electricity and reliable structures. would you agree with me that the standard of habitability should include those factors? secretary nielsen: i would agree with you that we need to do more and we are doing more. as you know, we have the first and foremost duty to protect the safety and security immediately after an event in response. h.u.d. works with us on the longer term housing, and right now what we're seeing is the transition from short-term housing to longer term housing through recovery. senator blumenthal: right. people are now being evicted from their temporary shelters in connecticut and likely in puerto rico without the section 8 or other h.u.d. programs. secretary nielsen: i am happy to look into that, sir. senator blumenthal: i'd like you to look into it. i'd also like you to give me what the standard is for habitability because certainly
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it should include water, electricity, and a reliable roof, that is a structure that can be regarded as safe and secure, would you agree? secretary nielsen: i'd be happy to look into it, yes, sir. senator blumenthal: let me just close on the topic that's been raised, unfortunately, repeatedly. i know it's one that's uncomfortable for all of us here. i am not going to repeat the word, but at any point in that conversation on thursday, did the president of the united states use that four-letter word, beginning with s, in combination with any other words or alone that you heard? secretary nielsen: sir, respectfully, i have answered this. i've been very patient with this line of questioning. i am here to tell you about the threats our country faces and the needs and authorities that are needed by the department of homeland security. i have nothing further to say in a meeting that happened over a week ago. i'd like to move forward and discuss ways in which we can
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protect our country. senator blumenthal: let's -- i agree, expand on the compromise that was offered. the proposal that senator durbin and senator graham and others, the bipartisan proposal that was suggested, would you agree with me that it's an encouraging step and should be built on because we want to avoid the mass draconian deportation that otherwise will occur to these very brave and talented young people that have come to our country? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. i think anyone who is willing to work towards a solution to this. as i said, my staff has continued to meet with their staff since that meeting and i'm very hopeful we can agree upon a deal amongst us all that increases border security, that ends chain migration and diversity lottery and also accounts a permanent solution for the daca population. senator grassley: senator hirono. senator hirono: we'd like to
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move on. i would like a very short yes or no answer. before i ask you about what happened in hawaii this weekend, you testified that you did not hear the president use as whole or as house. my question is did you hear senator graham hear the word s-hole or s-house at the meeting? secretary nielsen: ma'am, no. senator hirono: there are heightened tensions between north korea and the united states and you touched upon the department of homeland security's efforts with regard to disaster responses. what happened in hawaii could qualify as that, of course. so the false emergency alert about a ballistic missile threat to hawaii induced real fear and panic throughout the eye lands while.islands and
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i'd like to ask you a question what we can learn about the systems failures and how we can improve the emergency alert systems, not just for hawaii but for every state. so can you explain to me exactly what the role of your department is in overseeing state emergency alert systems? secretary nielsen: yes, ma'am. so we provide the backbone of an alerting system which state and locals are able to tap into to reach their citizens. it's called the integrated public alert and warning system. it provides for a variety of capabilities, including geotargeting, so we can alert those who are in harm's way. but the decision in this case to utilize that backbone and how it was utilized was the state's decision. senator hirono: it all started with human error. so obviously we need to identify the human failures and correct them and then to the extent there were system failures because there was a very long span of time from the first alert and then correcting that alert. so that seems to point to some
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communication and other kinds of failures that we ought to be addressing. so do you have the responsibility to convene state emergency managers to make sure each state has an alert system that functions properly? secretary nielsen: we do request a variety of information from state and locals on their alert warning systems as part of our threat assessments conducted by fema as well as anytime we provide grant assistance. oftentimes the request is to use federal money to improve systems. we work with the states to ensure that makes sense. senator hirono: do you have an overall responsibility or part of your responsibility is to make sure every state's alert systems work properly? secretary nielsen: what we do -- yes and no. so in other words, we provide the backbone to ensure anytime if the president or the department of homeland security would need to send an alert to citizens with an impending catastrophic event, for example, we can do that.
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the state and localities then often use that backbone to distribute and disseminate their own messages. as you know state and locals have their own systems that you can opt into with other types of noncatastrophic event. snow, for example, or major rainstorm, something their citizens should be aware of. senator hirono: this had the -- this could have been totally catastrophic. do you have standards in ensuring state emergency management agencies use best practices in a situation like what occurred in hawaii on saturday? secretary nielsen: so fema has been in touch with the emergency manager in hawaii. we have offered our support for any after-action they perform. i asked my folks at d.h.s. to do their own after-action to make sure we are clear when we receive an alert and warning from a state, both that it is disseminated properly but also we can verify. initial lessons learned.
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we would work with the states, particularly in this threat, to ensure they're connected to those who can quickly verify whether that threat is real or not. in that case that would be the department of defense. we are in active conversations with them to ensure they can improve their system, yes, ma'am. senator hirono: you would agree there are responsibilities at f.c.c., for example, they have acknowledged they have a certain responsibility. d.h.s. the state. and pacific command because the order to send out this alert should have come from pacific command upon getting the notification from northern command there was a missile launch and where it was heading. so we can improve all of those communications. secretary nielsen: yes. senator hirono: was your department aware that hawaii emergency management agency did not have a mechanism entirely in place to address the false alarm situation and alert -- and an alert retraction mechanism? secretary nielsen: we were not aware before this occurrence, no, ma'am. senator hirono: are you going to work with states to ensure they have that mechanism? secretary nielsen: yes.
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senator hirono: they say it's purely a state exercise but i think that understates the problem because i believe addressing issues with alerts about a ballistic missile threat from a foreign country -- everyone assumed it was from north korea -- is not only a state problem. would you commit to working with me to ensure that states, not just hawaii -- we have to include guam already in an uniform and effective way to alert their people of missile threats? secretary nielsen: yes, i will. i'd like to work with you to ensure we're providing specific instructions on what to do upon an alert. senator hirono: once hawaii e.m.a., the emergency management agency, realized it sent out a false alert, it apparently wasn't clear to them whether or not they needed to consult with fema before sending out a retraction. do you know what the requirements are, where they're supposed to get fema somehow
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agreement, involvement in order to send out a false alarm message? secretary nielsen: no, ma'am. they don't need to get anything from fema to send out a retraction. senator hirono: that's another clarification of clear communication that has to occur. secretary nielsen: yes, we all should clarify that. senator hirono: so how can d.h.s. play a role in ensuring all of the systems involved in sending out alerts and retracting them are understood by all the states? are you taking some very specific steps to ensure that this is happening? secretary nielsen: yes, i had asked the administer of fema to work with the state emergency management agencies to make sure the standard operating procedures are clear both on issuing alerts, based on the fact they are alerted and making a course correction in the very small cases when that might be necessary. senator hirono: are there formal
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plans in place to respond to a ballistic missile attack? we are not talking about hawaii or guam. north korea is building a missile to reach the continental u.s. is there a formal plan in place in your department on how states are to respond to a domestic missile attack? secretary nielsen: we continue to work with the states to understand the threat and the effects of it. the federal interagency we had an exercise in february -- we will have an exercise in support of state and local response. senator hirono: i understand when you say cabinet level, it was the subcabinet level, not at your level. secretary nielsen: nope. sorry. the cabinet level will occur in february. we had a deputy exercise in fall. senator hirono: make sure every state has in place -- secretary nielsen: let me be clear. the cabinet level will exercise will clarify the roles and
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responsibilities of the federal government so that includes, as you say, d.o.d., to the extent we're talking about an alert and warning system, we want to make sure the f.c.c. which is undertaking an assessment, is clear so we'll clarify that at the same time we're working with state and locals to make sure they have the information they need. senator hirono: thank you. it sounds as though everybody's onboard. especially after what happened in hawaii to make sure this doesn't happen in hawaii or anyplace else for that matter. i want to get to the question of daca because i was at the meeting at the white house where you said that -- you also said that today that no daca participant had lost their status. secretary nielsen: i did not say that. i said 21 have lost their status because they committed a crime. senator hirono: i am talking about 15,000 i am informed lost their status. daca participants had to renew their status and only those whose status expired at a certain time frame were allowed to renew after the ending of daca was announced.
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so there were thousands of participants in daca who were already on renewal status. now they -- and so they couldn't apply for renewal. so these are the young people that lost daca status, 15,000 of them. take my word for it. i'm glad after the california court ordered d.h.s. begin to renew these applications, you have done so. secretary nielsen: yes. senator hirono: i commend you for that. i wonder what's happening to the 15,000 who have lost their status. are you creating an expedited procedure for them to have their daca status restored? secretary nielsen: i will get back to you on that, ma'am. i am not familiar with 15,000 who lost their status. as i understand the program ends march 5. so let me get you the -- senator hirono: not everybody ended then. secretary nielsen: i understand there were 20,000 who decided not to renew who were able to renew. senator hirono: we are talking
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about people that lost their status because they were in the middle of renewal and so they could not renew in the time frame they were given after the announcement. secretary nielsen: i am happy to get back to you. senator hirono: you see my sense of urgency. senator grassley: senator booker. senator booker: thank you very much, mr. chairman. first of all, i just want to say about the daca issue going on right now, to me this is a very profound moral issue in this country. it's a moral issue because many of these children do not even have memories of their own country and now in our nation they are doing things extraordinary. in my state we have daca recipients, dreamers who are serving in the military. we have dreamers who are first responders. we have dreamers who are entrepreneurs. one young lady who sat in my office employs hundreds and hundreds of people. i am sure you are aware because
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, you probably met with these people -- you met with dreama, yes? secretary nielsen: i have not met with daca recipients as secretary of homeland security. senator booker: before? secretary nielsen: not as self-identified, no. senator booker: these people are not only hanging in the balance of policy but it's a grievous anxiety. it's undermining their life and their well-being and their ability to serve. this moment for them, these weeks and weeks of waiting on something where 80% of americans agree, republicans and democrats agree that we should find a way for these folks to say in this country. what is happening right now is unacceptable treatment to people who are fellow americans but for the documentation. i want to just turn, though -- and you have to forgive me, listening to the testimony has changed my line of questioning a bit because this is very personal to me. i sit here right now because
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when good white people in this country heard bigotry or hatred, they stood up. moving into my home community we were denied housing because of the color of our skin. there was white americans from the county who banded together to fight against racism, to fight against hate speech, to fight against people based upon their ethnicity, based upon their origin, based upon their religion. what went on in the white house, what went on in the oval office is profoundly disturbing to me and i'll tell you this. i heard about it when i was in puerto rico when it happened. and here i was there trying to help a community dealing with savage challenges. i can't tell you how many puerto ricans brought up that conversation in the white house. i returned to atlanta to go to the king center awards and from the greatest luminaries from the
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civil rights movements down to average americans, this was on their mind. i returned to newark, new jersey, and i talked to african-americans from africa. i talked to central americans. i talked to regular newarkers and this was top on their mind. yesterday i talked to the ambassador from haiti and to see all they're doing as a result of this conversation. now, i've been in the oval office many times and when the commander in chief speaks, i listened. i don't have amnesia on conversations i had in the oval office going back months and months. i had individual meetings with the president and i've had group conversations where there was, as you said, cross-talk. and why -- why is this so important? why is this so disturbing for me? why am i frankly seething with
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anger? we have this incredible nation where we have been taught that it does not matter where you're from, it doesn't matter your color, your race, your religion, it's about the content of your character, it's about your values and your ideals and yet we have language that from dick durbin to lindsey graham, they seem to have a much better recollection of what went on. you're under oath. you and others in that room that suddenly cannot remember. it was martin luther king that said there's nothing in this world more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity and so here we are in the united states of america and we have a history that is beautiful and grand and also ugly where from this nation
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to others we know what happens when people sit by and are bystanders and say nothing. when oval office rhetoric sounds like social engineering, we know from a human history the dangers of that. our greatest -- our greatest heroes in this country spoke out about people who have convenient amnesia or who were bystanders. king said a man dies when he refuses to stand up for that when he stands up for that. a man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. a man dies when he refuses to take a stand. weisle said we must take sides. neutrality helps the oppressor never the victim silence, , encourages the tormenter. never the tormented. gandhi said silence become cowardess, cowardess when we occasion -- when the occasion demands speaking out like lindsey graham did and acting accordingly. this idea that the commander in
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chief of this country could with broad brushes talk about certain nations and thus cast a shadow over the millions of americans who are from those communities and then you could even say in your testimony the nor weakens -- norwegians were preferenced by them -- secretary nielsen: sorry -- senator booker: let me finish. sec. nielsen: happy to. senator booker: let me finish. i'm sure you will remember the six words from our president, the six words that he said after charleston, virginia, last summer. people marching with tiki torches and hate when he said there are very fine people on both sides. very fine people on both sides. when the commander in chief speaks or refuses to speak, those words just don't dissipate
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like mist in the air. they fester. they become poison. they give license to bigotry and hate in our country. i know you're aware of a 2017 g.a.o. report that found, and i quote, out of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since september 12, 2001, far right-ring extremist groups were responsible for 73%. when i go through the black belt in the south, when i'm in atlanta, black churches in newark, they're concerned about jihadist islamic terrorism. we watched the twin towers from newark go down. but since 9/11, 85 violent incidents, 73% were with people who held bigoted, hateful ideas about minorities.
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dozens injured. nine americans killed in a church shooting in charleston, south carolina, by a wheat -- white supremacist. another in kansas after a white supremacist targeted them for their ethnicity saying get out of my country. six americans killed and four others wounded in wisconsin. where white supremacist targeted individuals for their religion. the commander in chief in an oval office meeting referring to people from african countries and haitians with the most vial and vulgar language. that language festers when
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ignorance and bigotry is alive with power, it's a dangerous force in our country. your silence and amnesia is complicity. right now in our nation we have a problem. i don't know of 73% of your time is spent on white supremacist hate groups. i don't know if 73% of your time is spent concerned about the people in fear in communities in this country, seek americans, muslim americans, black americans. the fact pattern is clear in this country. i hurt when dirk durbin called me, i had tears of rage when i heard about this experience in this meeting and for you not to feel that hurt and that pain and to dismiss some of the questions of my colleagues saying, i've already answered that line of questions, when tens of millions of americans are hurting right now because of what they're worried what happened in the white house, that's unacceptable to me. there are threats in this country, people plotting. i receive enough death threats to know the reality. kamla receives enough death threats to know the rate. -- know the reality. mazi knows enough death threats. and i have a president of the united states whose office i
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respect who talks about the countries of origins of my fellow citizens in the most despicable of manner. you don't remember. you can't remember the words of your commander in chief. i find that unacceptable. mr. chairman, i'm grateful to be on this committee. i'm more than ever today happy i am here. thank you. senator grassley: thank you. senator graham. secretary nielsen: sir, could i just respond? if you don't mind. senator grassley: wait, senator graham. go ahead and respond. secretary nielsen: would that be ok? i would just like to say i do clearly -- and i want to be clear on this -- abhor violence in all of its forms. i couldn't agree with you more that the department of homeland security has a duty to stop and prevent violence in all of its forms. our preventing terrorism programs have been reassessed and relooked at just this year to ensure we actually are going after the threats to include
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white supremacy, not just to focus on what was focused on in years' past. so just to -- i would just like to say that to you. i share your passion. it's unacceptable. it can't be tolerated in the united states under the authorities that i have at the department of homeland security, violence in any form will not be tolerated. senator grassley: thank you. senator graham. senator graham: welcome. senator booker, glad you are here. do you agree with me that these threats -- that the threats to the nation are pretty severe and if we shut down the government that would be a bad idea? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. >> ok. does the president intend to extend daca past march 5 by executive order? secretary nielsen: not that i am aware of. senator graham: do you think he has the legal authority to do so? secretary nielsen: i believe the attorney general believes such exercise is unconstitutional. it's for congress to fix. senator graham: so i agree with that. i want everybody on this
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committee to know i don't believe the president can extend this by executive order. on march 5, a lot of bad things will again to happen. -- begin to happen. it seems like we ought to try to avoid that if we can. do you agree? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. sen. graham: let's talk about two trumps. the tuesday trump. whose idea was it to do the meeting on tuesday? secretary nielsen: as far as i know it was the president's. senator graham: i will say something that some people may not like, but i thought he did a really good job. he talked about comprehensive immigration reform. do you remember that from tuesday? secretary nielsen: i do remember that being raised. senator graham: is he still supportive of comprehensive immigration reform? sec. nielsen: i believe what he made clear is he is happy to listen to proposals and have the discussion but there are some immediate needs. senator graham: i agree with that. he said he wanted to do comprehensive? secretary nielsen: he said he was open to it. yes, sir. senator graham: i think he said he wanted to. do you remember him saying we need to be bipartisan when it comes to immigration reform? secretary nielsen: very important. senator graham: ok. he still believes that? secretary nielsen: yes.
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senator graham: do you remember him saying the word "love"? secretary nielsen: i don't remember him saying the word "love." i remember him saying care. i've heard him use love before. compassion. senator graham: well, we'll get the tape. he said love, we should do this with love. what i heard tuesday was a president who seemed to understand it had to be bipartisan. phase one is just a down payment. it needs to be comprehensive. we need to go to merit-based immigration. we need to secure our border and be fair to the immigrants and need to emphasize security but he said love. thursday. are you aware that the senator durbin and the president talked at 10:00, around that time thursday morning? secretary nielsen: only through news reporting after the fact. senator graham: ok. are you aware of the fact that dick durbin called me and said i had the best conversation with the president, we need to follow-up on it? secretary nielsen: i am aware now.
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senator graham: i said, great, dick. i'll call the white house and set up a meeting, you are now? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator graham: what happened between 10:00 and 12:00? secretary nielsen: i don't know. i don't either. i am going to find out and i am not going to ask you because between 10:00 and 12:00 we went from having conversations between senator durbin which i believe every word and the president that was very hopeful and by the time we got there something had happened. so tuesday we had a president that i was proud to golf with, call my friend, who understood immigration had to be bipartisan. you had to have border security as essential. you have to have border security with the wall but he understood the idea we have to do it with compassion. i don't know where that guy went. i want him back. as we go forward, how does this
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movie end? what's going to happen? secretary nielsen: i hope that we can find a legislative package that addresses those four pillars that it appeared to me - senator graham: let's go through those four pillars. border security. do you expect that the democrats will give the president everything he wants for border security in phase one? secretary nielsen: no, sir. that's why we took the priorities that he issued in the fall and we called them down. senator graham: merit--based immigration. do you believe we will move through a merit-based immigration system in phase one? secretary nielsen: completely and fully, no. senator graham: do you agree with me that the reason we want is the democrats give us everything we want on border and merit-based immigration and go to nuclear family in terms of future immigration flow, they won't have any leverage when it comes to the rest of the 11 million? secretary nielsen: i have not seen any proposal where they give us everything -- senator graham: trust me on
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that. i deal with them a lot. they are not. i will not give the 11 million legal status and hope one day y'all will deal with us on border and merit-based immigration. do you understand leverage? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator graham: do you think the president understands leverage? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator graham: here's what i would suggest to you. in phase one to expect my friends on the other side to go comprehensive for us and daca for them is not going to happen. i'm telling my friends on the other side, daca and nothing else is not going to happen. the sweet spot is daca plus, more than the daca kids, and making down payments on border security, moving slowly but surely toward a merit-based immigration system to be followed by phase two. can i describe phase two as i see it? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. please. senator graham: thank you very
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much. phase two as i see it is we move further toward border security in its full sense, that we begin to find a pathway forward for the 11 million not included in phase one who are not crooks, drug dealers, rapists, felons, which is the overwhelming majority of the 11 million, that once we get a glide path for them i expect in return that when they're through the system we'll have a merit-based immigration system based on the economic needs of the country that will have a secure border and we'll increase legal immigration so people in the future don't have to cheat. does that sound pretty reasonable? secretary nielsen: it sounds like a phase two. senator graham: ok. so i'm going to try to get you through phase one. if the president is watching, i'm still in the phone book. don't give my number out but call me he. -- but call me. this has turned into an s show and we need to get back to being
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a great country where democrats and republicans work together to do something that we should have done years ago. to the 700,000 young people, some young, some older, we're not going to leave you behind. i don't know how this movie ends, but you're going to be taken care of. to those who want to begin to fix a broken immigration system, you're going to get something too. i don't know how we right the ship. dr. king said something pretty poignant about us. he said we came on different ships. we're all in the same boat now. so here's my hope. that we can find through phase one a reason down payment on border security, begin to correct some of the problems when it comes to chain migration, deal with the daca population fairly and with a sense of compassion and set up phase two and all i would say, madam secretary, we need your
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help. secretary nielsen: sir, i've been ready. i would offer anybody who would like to meet with me to further the discussion. i would like to do it. we need to do it. senator graham: i will take you up on that offer. to the country at large, things will get better. it will not end in way. the president ran hot. i think i know why. something happened between tuesday and thursday and we'll get to the bottom of that. and quite frankly, i got pretty passionate and i ran a little hot too. somebody needs to fix this problem. obama couldn't do it. bush couldn't do it. both of them to their great credit tried. do you think president trump can do this? secretary nielsen: i think he wants to do it, yes, sir. senator graham: i think dick durbin has been one of the best people you could ever hope to that he's a decent,
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honest man, a liberal democrat. yeah, he said yeah. and i'm a conservative republican but on this and other things we can find a way forward. so mr. president, i'm going to end today where i ended tuesday. close this deal. thank you, madam secretary. secretary nielsen: thank you, sir, for your leadership on this. senator grassley: i would hope senator -- secretary harris -- senator grassley: i don't know -- >> i don't know if that's a demotion or promotion. senator grassley: you don't have to answer this, senator graham, but it seems to me that in phase one we ought to least be able to agree we should make it -- make it easier to remove dangerous criminals in phase one instead of waiting for that. you know, that's just a simple -- that's a commonsense test. you ask that to any american and they would say yes. senator graham: i think that's a
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good idea among other good ideas. i am glad we are talking about phase one rather than s holes. senator grassley: senator harris. senator harris: thank you, mr. chairman. there's so much that's taken place over the last week and during the course of this hearing that frankly stirs in me, as in my colleague, senator booker and others, great emotion. i join issue with the statements of senator booker. i am deeply concerned and troubled about the words that i believe that dick durbin has shared with us that came from the president of the united states. i believe that the words spoken by any president of these united states are powerful words. and should be spoken with the spirit of unifying and not dividing our country. should be spoken in a way that brings dignity to other human beings and does not demean them.
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i am deeply concerned when we are just having celebrated the birth of dr. martin luther king who spoke about the effect of racism in tchun and words that -- racism in this country and words that are motivated by racism. for so many reasons they are harmful. they have led to death. at their mildest form which is not mild, it suggests to one group of people that they are inferior and to another that they are superior to their fellow man. this is a pivotal moment in the history of our country. when we are having discussions about whether the people of norway -- and will use your words, madam secretary, and you spoke about how they were referred to as by contrast to the people of africa and the various country, the 54 countries of africa and haiti
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and we speak of them and you spoke of them according to the president as the people of norway -- well, you know, they work very hard. the inference being the people of the 54 states of africa and haiti do not. that is a fair inference. and you run the department of homeland security and when you say you don't know if norway is predominantly white when asked by a member of the united states senate, that causes me concern about your ability to understand the scope of your responsibilities. and the impact of your words much less the policies that you promulgate in that very important department. you opened by talking about a number of statistics that paint the threat the country faces from terrorism. particularly you spoke of those who commit acts of terror who are not born in this country.
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the study you mentioned, however, leaves out some of the most rampant terror attacks that we've seen lately which were domestic acts of terror. as has been mentioned, there is a report from the f.b.i. and d.h.s. which outlines white supremacist extremist and i quote, the report says, will likely continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the course of the next year. the report states that white supremacist extremists are responsible for 49 homicides and 26 attacks from the year 2000 to 2016. more than any other domestic extremist movement, i am quoting. it is deeply troubling that in your opening comments when you talk about the threats to our nation, our homeland to national security that you fail to mention a report that outlined a very specific threat to us as the american people.
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deeply troubled. you must understand the inference, the reasonable inference that the american public is drawing from the words you speak much less the words of the president of the united states. now, i'd like to move on and talk about your management of your agency. you and i spoke several times during your confirmation process both at a personal meeting on november 2 and in your november 8 confirmation hearing before the homeland security committee. in your confirmation hearing on november 8 you stated you would issue guidance to your agents stating that daca recipients and dreamers are not enforcement priorities. have you done that? secretary nielsen: they are not enforcement priorities, ma'am. senator harris: have you issued to your agents that guidance? secretary nielsen: that is clear -- i personally have not, no.
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senator harris: you also committed that you would make clear that d.h.s. employees that daca recipients' information will not be shared for enforcement purposes, have you done that? secretary nielsen: it is not proactively shared. if it's a national security threat that's a different matter. the daca information is not proactively provided. i have verified that. senator harris: that's not my question. not have you verified that -- that's clear to me. secretary nielsen: it's in existing written documentation. senator harris: my question i will repeat is based on a commitment you made to me in another united states senate hearing. secretary nielsen: i am saying written it already exists do so i didn't need to redo it. it already exists. senator harris: have you made that clear? secretary nielsen: yes, i have. senator harris: hundreds of thousands of employees in your department. secretary nielsen: i have had multiple meetings and i have clarified again and again. senator harris: have you had written directive to the hundreds of thousands of employees to in your agency? secretary nielsen: it already
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exists. senator harris: so you've not done it? secretary nielsen: why would i do it again? it already exists. senator harris: let's talk about why you would do it again. let's talk about the data there has been an increase of i think three-fold of the number of people who are noncriminals by isis own definition who have been detained in your department. will you give me that number, please? how do you reconcile your point which is that it's clear to the agents in your department when the data supplied by your own agency does not reflect that? secretary nielsen: the data i have has 92% last year being criminals and those final orders of removal. senator harris: where we have information there has been an increase in the number of people, nearly three times the number of individuals, no criminal history, has compared to the same period last year, are you saying that's incorrect? secretary nielsen: i'm saying i don't have the data that you're looking at. is it final orders of removal, is there another national security threat?
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senator harris: no criminal history. secretary nielsen: that's not what i asked. is it a final order of removal? senator harris: we are talking about the people you are contacting. are you prioritizing equally people with no criminal history as you are those who you described earlier as being criminals because they are felons? secretary nielsen: we prioritize those with criminal convictions as well as those with final orders of removal. senator harris: do they have equal priority in your agency? secretary nielsen: they are both top tier priority for enforcement. senator harris: do they have equal priority? secretary nielsen: ma'am, we are going to enforce the law. if there is a final order of removal, we will remove you. senator harris: do you have a budget request? secretary nielsen: i don't have the figure for f.y. 2018. senator harris: do you know if your agency is adequately funded? or do you need more resources? sec. nielsen: it depends on the particular area. we make sure we have the tools and resources to do our job.
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senator harris: i am assuming you have adequate resources question is why you can apply equal resources to those who are felons and those who have no criminal records. secretary nielsen: ma'am, we will not ignore the law. if you have gone through the system and you have a final order of removal, you are a priority to be removed. senator harris: this past saturday, following a recent u.s. district court ruling, your agency resumed accepting daca renewal applications. will you commit to providing direct notice to all daca recipients about their ability and right to renew? secretary nielsen: we -- i will look into that, yes, ma'am. senator harris: you will recall -- secretary nielsen: it's posted on the website and posted for anyone who is a current daca recipient they can read it and understand how they can reapply. senator harris: it is also posted on your website, is it my understanding, that we are no longer accepting initial or renewal requests for deferred action for childhood arrivals,
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are you aware that's on your website? secretary nielsen: no, i am not. senator harris: i suggest you get to that right away. secretary nielsen: we will clarify. senator harris: you said you would issue guidance to front line officers on d.h.s. sensitive location policies and in line of the case you have been asked about this hearing about the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy surgery, can you tell me that you have -- secretary nielsen: we have clarified the guidance and we had discussions with leadership on how to ensure that every person who enforces the law understands what the sensitive locations are. the sensitive locations have not changed since 2012. senator harris: what guidance -- did you provide the guidance to all of the agents in your department? secretary nielsen: it's in writing. senator harris: when did you issue that? secretary nielsen: we will provide it. it's the same guidance that's been in existence since 2012.
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what we have done is clarify and reinforce existing guidance. senator harris: and you'll send me that clarification? secretary nielsen: yes. senator harris: you mentioned in the case of rosa maria hernandez that your agents were being helpful in escorting that family, the 10-year-old who needed surgery -- secretary nielsen: to the hospital. senator harris: to the hospital. i suggest it's not helpful for border patrol agents to follow an ambulance to a hospital and then arrest a 10-year-old after her surgery and i would ask you to review the efficacy of the conduct of your agents and your perspective on what happened that day. secretary nielsen: i am happy to provide you the actual facts what happened. i'd also just like to say if i could, chairman, if you don't mind, it's not a fair inference to say that my comments about norway were in contrast to any other country. what i was describing was the president's views upon meeting with the prime minister and what
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i was quoting was what he was told in meeting with the norwegian delegation. that's what he were repeated. words that he repeated that i repeated. it was not in contrast. with respect to white supremacy, we expanded our prevention efforts in the department of homeland security to ensure we in fact are going after violence of any kind, any kind is not appropriate and i will not allow it to occur if it's within our authority to stop. senator harris: mr. chairman, i would just ask that the record -- sure we can all review it -- will reflect in the opening statements when discussing challenges to our homeland in terms of security the white supremacist threat was not mentioned. thank you. i have no further questions. senator grassley: here's where we are now. we have senator coons when he comes back for 10 minutes and then i had requests from durbin, leahy, whitehouse, hirono for a second round. that would be five minutes apiece. i'd like to ask some second-round questions, too, but
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i'll go to senator durbin first before we go to coons. i do -- you can see i have been abandoned by everybody on my side. so i got to get done by 2:00. everybody understand, cooperate in that respect. go ahead, senator. secretary nielsen: sir. since it's been three hours, can we take a five-minute break. senator grassley: sure. now is the time to do it. secretary nielsen: ok. thank you. senator grassley: that may mean we go with coons first. >> oh, no. an update from capitol hill. with a friday deadline looming. house republicans met tuesday evening for another short-term measure to fund the federal
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government to we are joined by peter sullivan on the phone of the hill who has been covering the meeting this evening. peter sullivan, what have they agreed to in the republican meeting tonight? peter: house gop leaders made a proposal tonight to fund the government another short-term bill until february 16. a few more weeks buying the more time. they also would be attaching health care measures. extension of the children's health insurance program, which is a big bipartisan priority, so that is a major measure. delays of some certain obamacare taxes, the cadillac tax, the health insurance tax, and the medical device tax. that's basically the package that republicans proposed. >> leading the story, the headline leading the story, house republican leaders propose funding bill with children's health money. you mention it is a bipartisan effort. other be pushed back by democrats on some of the
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affordable care act related provisions in this reported measure? peter: there could be. on these aca split taxes. some of them don't like the cadillac tax. delaying that could be ok with the democrats. i think the larger issue for democrats is on immigration. the docket issue, trying to protect the young -- the daca issue, trying to protect the young immigrants. i think that will be a big problem for democrats. what might have to happen in the house is the republicans just try to pass this with only republican votes of the house, for predominantly republican votes. >> your tweet after the meeting, recapping some of the things reportedly in the package. continued resolution through february 16 with six years for children health insurance program. two years of the medical device text l.a., the cadillac tax, the expensive health plan tax,
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two-year delay, and one your health insurance tax in 2019. as he mentioned, not mentioned in that tweet or in the plan. have we heard from democratic leaders on their reaction, even though it is early, their reaction to the republican proposal and what they plan to do regarding daca? peter: they have not put out any formal statements. expected. it is not sure, but it is expected the house democratic leaders are not going to great thisis kindly, -- greet kindly. the question comes amongst senate democrats. in the senate, they need nine democrats to vote. or else it can gets -- get to the 60 vote threshold. it may be tough for these vulnerable senate democrats to vote no given that the bipartisan priority is included
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in this. the republicans are hoping that can be a sweetener, even though the daca is not in it. >> what have you heard from the leaders of the freedom caucus or the republican study committee about the proposal? --er: the freedom cost caucus is meeting as we speak. they have not taken a formal position. the in the larger all gop conference earlier tonight -- leading the larger all gop conference earlier tonight, they were relatively positive saying they are leaning yes on the bill. it could be there is not going to be a full-scale revolt. although it is possible some of become berserk -- conservatives could vote no. >> the deadline for the measure is friday. what does the timeline look for passing this new proposal? iner: it would have to be the next couple of days. as soon as tomorrow. definitet seen a timetable laid out. you're right. the end of the week is the deadline. this if notve to do
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tomorrow, then the day after. that leaves time for the senate to act. the top -- the clock is clicking -- thinking. story onn follow the twitter at peter sullivan for p thanks for being with us. >> thank you. now, back to the senate judiciary committee with oversight committee. this is about one hour and 15 minutes. senator durbin: because here's what we face as i understand it. because of the california court decision, your agency is opening for those who previously were protected by daca and whose protection or registration has come to an end, an opportunity to reapply. is that correct? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator durbin: we know come march 5 the president said the program is over. those who would have expiring daca protection as of march 5
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would not be able under the president's directive of september 5 to apply for new daca status s. that correct? secretary nielsen: that's correct. senator durbin: you have said, i assume it reflects the add m., you do not believe -- it reflects the administration, you do not believe president trump has the right to extend the march 5 deadline. secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator durbin: we heard two weeks ago from your agency any changes to daca that we decide to go forward with will take several months, i think they said six months to implement. have you heard that? secretary nielsen: i have not. senator durbin: i think that's true. the point i am getting to is this. this is a matter of urgency. i hope you agree. sec. nielsen: i do. senator durbin: this week we think is a critical week. do you know what the position the administration is on the california decision? are they going to accept it or are they going to appeal it? sec. nielsen: i don't.
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last i checked in with the department of justice they were considering their options. i don't have an update. senator durbin: should they choose to appeal it it could end , in a matter of hours. it's possible. because i believe it's injunctive relief that has led to this decision. higher court can decide differently. secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator durbin: point i want to get back to from lindsey graham. there are many things we can talk about. i will address one issue. we're talking about two phases, that's what the president said on tuesday of last week. we believe, senator graham and i and many others, there are lots of big issues involving immigration, involving security. but we also believe there is a sense of urgency and immediacy to dealing with daca. and to doing it in a fashion where the president's checklist, the four items, are included. that's why we have brought forward this bipartisan approach. i urge my colleagues on both
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sides of the aisle join with us in bringing this matter forward this week. we know, i think we know, the parameters of what we're discussing and we should act with that sense of urgency. one of the things on your must-have list, which you passed out on tuesday and brought to us again today in a different form, relates to asylum protection. and you use the example of a child at the border of being coached, to use the words, credible fear. and that triggers a certain reaction. but i would like to call your attention to something that i hope can add another perspective. it's an article entitled, when deportation is a death sentence. written by sara stillman, published in the new yorker. i want you to read t i hope you'll read it. it talks about what happens when the agents who are involved in this don't ask the right question, don't hear the answer, and send many women back to their death. and they go through cataloging
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when that has occurred. there is a requirement, as i understand it, in the in the manual, before deportation a person must be asked, do you have any fear or concern about being returned to your home country or being removed from the united states? would you be harmed if you return? and if the agent asking the question has though authority to evaluate the validity of that fear, if the answer is in the affirmative, they are referred to an asylum officer s that your understanding? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator durbin: they are told in the same manual, err on the side of caution. apply the criterion generously. it turns out an aclu report in 2014, before your time, found that 55% of those who were stopped and questioned were not asked that critical question. and that of those who ended up saying affirmatively they were concerned, only 40% were protected and allowed to stay.
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i hope you'll concede, asylum seekers are not entitled to lawyers. children as young as 3 years of age have been asked to represent themselves. with a lawyer in the process, someone seeking asylum has five times the likelihood that they'll be allowed to stay in the united states. so when you get into the area of asylum, making this quicker, you also run the risk that you are sending people to their death. i'm not exaggerating because we know the central american countries have, unfortunately, the highest murder race in the world -- rates in the word. the gang activity down there we fear coming to the united states is rampant down there. how would you balance that? how would you address those two concerns? secretary nielsen: i would look at them separately. i do look forward to reading this article and certainly to see what we have done since 2014 to ensure that the manual and those questions are asked and are followed up on appropriately. we have the duty to protect
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those who are in fear of their life. i stand very firm on that. so i'm happy to work with you if there is anything else we can do or not clear, we need to do both of those. senator durbin: i'll conclude by saying, refugee and asylum officers have a dual mission according to one of their own, who stated this, identify people who aren't refugees and who just might harm us, but also to identify and protect real refugees. would you agree? secretary nielsen: absolutely. senator durbin: thank you. >> thank you. senator coons is next for 10 minutes. senator coons: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary. thank you for your service and answers to so many questions today. i want to cover some ground that's already been touched on in a few places. open some new questions. like so many of us i have had the opportunity to meet with dreamers both in my home state of delaware, where quite a few are attending delaware state university, but also in the hallway here, both before and during this hearing.
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did i hear correctly you have yet to meet with any dreamers? secretary nielsen: we have met with many of the associations. we met with many members of congress. but i personally have not to my knowledge met with a dreamer. senator coons: i found it a compelling circumstance an opportunity to hear from them how they came to this country, what their concerns are, and what pressures they are under as we wait to find party path toward resolving this situation. i won't go through it in detail. we heard from senators graham and durbin today a compelling summary how they reached comparable compromise. we should be ready to move forward on a compromise to address daca. i think it's urgent we do so. we have heard from bipartisan group of former secretaries of homeland security that we cannot wait until march to fix daca. they say, the realistic deadline for successfully establishing a dreamer program in time to prevent large-scale loss of work authorization is mid january.
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do you agree with secretaries chertoff, napolitano, and johnson that implementing a successful program by the white house is self-imposed march 5 deadline requires at least 45 days of lead time? secretary nielsen: what i would hope is that we could work with congress to address that. as long as we're finding a permanent solution for that population t. would seem to me -- through that population, it would seem to me through law we can adjust any time lines we need to to ensure they can continue to work. senator coons: the administration would be open to delaying further self-imposed march 5 deadline? secretary nielsen: if we are finding a permanent solution as part of that, we can adjust the timelines. as i testified earlier, the administration itself is not looking to extend the march 5 deadline upon a determination it's unconstitutional. senator coons: i think there remains real urgency. the reason for meeting with them is get a clear sense how it's impacting them. sec. nielsen: if i could, i cannot stress how strong i feel
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about finding a permanent solution for this population. i'm happy to work with you and anyone in the days and minutes that follow this hearing to do just that. i do feel the urgency. i think we owe it to them and the american people and our ideals to find a solution. senator coons: thank you, madam secretary. as for the travel ban we're on the third version of president trump's travel ban which blocks individuals were certain countries, primary muslim majority countries from entering the united states. i have joined more than 100 of my colleagues in the house and senate in filing a series of amicus briefs that have challenged these different travel bans. do you agree that citizenship is an unlikely indicator of terrorism threat as a draft d.h.s. report recently concluded? secretary nielsen: if you are talking about the section 11 report what we found, unfortunately, is 73% of those convicted of international terrorism related charges were foreign born. in that case that is an indicator. senator coons: foreign born.
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what has been an issue in a number of these challenges, the correlation between foreign born and the specific nations that have been identified for the development of this travel ban. i'll just remind you that we continue, those of us who challenged it in court torques see a lack of clear correlation between risk to the united states and the nations that are identified. let me move on if i could to the incidents in charlottesville. it concluded white supremcism poses a consistent threat. do you know whether d.h.s. issued a warning to state and local law enforcement authorities before the deadly attack in charlottesville that the unite the right was likely to become violent? secretary nielsen: i am not aware. senator coons: my concern here
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is that there were reports, several days before the event, where d.h.s. was clear that an escalating series of clashes had create add potential powder keg and a failure -- had created a potential powder keg, and a failure to notify law enforcement prevented them from being fully prepared to prevent this latest episode of white supremacist extremism. have you the president on this? -- have you personally briefed the president on this? secretary nielsen: what we talked about generally is terrorism and violence in all its forms. as part a of that yes, we have briefed at a high level the instances we know. the f.b.i., the department of justice is also very involved in that topic. senator coons: is it your sense that the president places a sufficiently high priority on being prepared for and responding to white supremacist violence among the various threats to security within the united states? secretary nielsen: i believe that he has been clear that violence in any form that it might take, i think we continue to do more.
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not only to ensure the state and local enforcements have the information they need but provide the warning signs, what are we looking for? how do we know as it starts to occur within a community? what more can we do? senator coons: as a member of this committee and co-chair of the law enforcement caucus, i welcome opportunities to hear from you about how you think we could better strengthen state and local law enforcement and their ability to understand and respond to unacceptable incidents of violence that are rooted in white supremacist's thinking. i also think it's important that all elected leaders send messages that make it clear how unacceptable these practices and attitudes are within the united states rather than winking at them or inflaming them. i'm a member of the senate foreign relations committee as well as this committee which released a minority report on putin's assault on our democracy. in particular actions outside the united states, actions around the world to interfere with elections among our vital western allies.
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and its implications for u.s. national security. the report notes that russian intelligence circulated a fake u.s. department of homeland security assessment that the 2016 u.s. election was not a victim of cyberattacks. what's the president's strategy, what's the department's strategy for countering the kremlin's disinformation operations like this one which could be significantly misleading to americans trying to better understand what happened and what may happen? secretary nielsen: it's a very serious issue, first of all. underscore that. anything that in any way interferes with the integrity of our election system should be taken seriously. the state department as you know as part of the strategy to address a whole variety of issues, both positive and negative with our relationship with russia, continues to look at this issue. as you know it's a balance. we have to find the ways to target our reaction that will have the effect of having them reduce their specific actions.
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we have to find a way in which best to do that. but it will continue to be a priority in terms of conversations and certainly from a perspective of looking at a variety of ways to do that in our general conversation was the private sector. how can they ensure the information they are providing is accurate? whether it be about elections or something else. senator coons: the report actually recommends the president establish a fusele cell to coordinate the united states' response to russia's influence operations. is that something you endorse? secretary nielsen: i would be happy to look at it. it will take all of government to fight this. sen. coons: it well. -- will. i must say in response to a questioning by a previous senator, i heard you say that you agree that russia interfered
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in our 2016 presidential election. you agree that is the unanimous conclusion of our intelligence community. and that given that they are likely to interfere with our next elections in 2018. did i hear that correctly? secretary nielsen: they certainly will try. senator coons: i'm encouraged to hear you say that clearly. bluntly, for us to be prepared and for to us work together and for us to defend our democracy requires clarity about what happened. can you offer any understanding for me about whether it undermines your leadership to have a president who repeatedly changes the subject suggests it didn't happen, suggest that somehow democrats complaining about the outcome of the election or suggest it's a misleading witch-hunt, for us to continue to try and understand what happened in 2016 and to prepare to defend our own democracy from a likely repeated attempt by russia or other adversaries in 2018? secretary nielsen: i do think that clarity is important. i do think we all need to work together to be very clear what specifically happened and how to prevent it in the future. senator coons: is it puzzling to you the president hasn't been in
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the lead in defending our democracy from these attacks? secretary nielsen: i'm not sure i would agree with the characterization. i do think we need to do more. that's certainly the -- my intent from the department of homeland security's perspective. senator coons: this month president trump disbanded the commission on election integrity citing the opposition of many states and ongoing legal challenges, he subsequently tweeted the asked the department of homeland security to review these issues and determine next courses of action. what prior experience does the department of homeland security have in investigating allegations of voter fraud in -- secretary nielsen: voter fraud as i mentioned is a large topic. the part that d.h.s. plays, we're looking at the integrity of the cybersystems. we'll continue to work with state localities on that. we also do have a program where states come to us with concern about illegal immigrants voting in a federal election. purely voluntary. if they ask us to look to see if some of their voters have the right to vote. we do that in the system we currently have. those would be the type of
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roles. other than that we're working with state and locals to ensure if there is anything they need with respect to their infrastructure or systems working with the secretaries of state that we can provide that. senator coons: i'm convinced we face a genuine threat to our next election. i think it's important our president speak clearly about this. i'm grateful for the opportunity to work with you to try to both resolve our pressing challenges and in finding a reasonable compromise on immigration law to protect dreamers, also more importantly to protect our democracy itself in the next election. i think both are important issues for our nation going forward. thank you for your testimony. >> senator leahy. sen. leahy: thank you. i was watching on the questions and answers, several months ago
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the d.h.s. inspector general completed a report on the implementation of president trump's travel ban. inspector general asked for it to be released but it's still being kept secret. why haven't you released this report? secretary nielsen: as i understand it that's part of ongoing discussions with the i.g. there is no issue with respect to issuing the report. what's at issue -- senator leahy: doesn't the american public have a right to know? secretary nielsen: absolutely. some of the information in it is protected by privilege. we also want to be sure that employees in the department of homeland security have the ability to talk to each other and -- senator leahy: did the report acknowledge certain d.h.s. officials acted in violation of federal court orders by preventing some people from boarding flights to the united states? secretary nielsen: it does draw a conclusion that is similar to what you're characterizing, unfortunately that particular conclusion is mistaken. we were looking at a population whose visas had been revoked from a d.h.s. perspective we cannot allow entrance --
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senator leahy: no d.h.s. officials acted in violation of the federal court order by preventing people from boarding flights to the u.s.? that did not happen? secretary nielsen: no, sir. we complied in a timely manner. we also complied with the court orders. senator leahy: the inspector general is wrong if he says that there is a violation of federal court orders by preventing passengers who boarded flights to the u.s.? secretary nielsen: unfortunately, there is two parts of the coin here. by law we have to follow the executive orders. by law we have to follow court orders. we cannot take a court order and decide not to comply with any part of the executive order, whether or not -- senator leahy: take the court order. did certain d.h.s. officials -- secretary nielsen: we complied with all court orders. senator leahy: you do, ok. the report you released this
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morning, a lot of press on it, but it doesn't answer our questions. the 402 foreign born individuals convicted of terrorism. was that terrorism exclusively in the united states? or was it terrorist acts abroad? or were they arrested abroad and brought to the u.s. for trial? secretary nielsen: it includes all of that, i believe. it is detailed in the report. senator leahy: ok -- secretary nielsen: there had to be a nexus to the united states. senator leahy: the report says exactly which countries they come from? secretary nielsen: no, sir. it does talk about what that population of convictions -- senator leahy: you are going to get me the list, break down how many were in the united states, how many came from abroad, how many committed acts elsewhere. i know you have to go back through. most are prosecuted by either the bush administration or the obama administration, i'd like to know how it's broken down.
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secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator leahy: earlier this month c.b.p. issued a directive on searching electronic devices at the border. including at airports. says they have the right to thumb through travelers' phones and other electronics without any basis for suspicion. they can demand a pass code to unlock it. and they can -- and they can keep the device if they don't get this pass code. without any probable cause, without any basis or suspicion. i want to make sure i understand this. i live an hour's drive from the canadian border. if i go to canada, visit some of my wife's relatives, come back, you can drive up in my vermont license plate car, easy to remember, license plate one, i park and they say we want your laptop and phone and your pass
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code. i said do you have any reason? they said we don't need one. is that correct? they can do that. i understand they might not with me, but they can do that, is that correct? secretary nielsen: they can search the data that is apparent on the phone. they can't use the phone to access anything that might be stored remotely. senator leahy: they can demand the resident unlock the phone or laptop. and the contents might be on the cloud which is remote. secretary nielsen: they actually, sir, if i could, they will actually ask the person in the 100th of 1% cases in which this occur, they will ask the person to disconnect the phone from the network. and usual circumstance it is the person is not able to do that, the c.b.p. official will. it prevents pulling down any data from the cloud. senator leahy: they can require their pass code and all without any probable cause.
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if they want. according to the director they have. is that correct? secretary nielsen: yes. it has to be a reason. there has to be a reasonable suspicion. sen. leahy: welcome to america. sec. nielsen: probable cause that allows them to look into other things. we're talking about .01%. senator leahy: will i ask this question when you come before the appropriations committee, i have been trying to get answer from d.h.s. about the hiring and retention issues at the law enforcement center in vermont. please have your staff give us some understanding of that. i want to know where the federal dollars that we have voted for and being assigned, where they are going. because we can't seem to find out.
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as your budget comes before my -- the committee where i'm vice chairman, i'm going to want to know the answers to that. and i want to know how quickly d.h.s. and c.b.p. who work with the canadian government on preclearance. secretary nielsen: on the williston, vermont issue i'll be happy to provide that. i'm going to canada on thursday. we'll talk about a variety of issues. including preclearance. i'm happy to get back to you at that meeting. senator leahy: please let me know. on the williston one we have been trying to get an answer. frankly i have been trying to be very helpful. i don't want to vote more money. secretary nielsen: we'll follow up. senator leahy: thank you. sec. nielsen: absolutely. if you want a second round, you are next. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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thank you, again, madam secretary. i want to emphasize how important the special counsel investigation of russian meddling and collusion and possible obstruction of justice is. i welcome your constructive and positive attitude toward that investigation. i hope you'll talk to the president. and ask him to agree with you that it isn't a witch-hunt, it isn't a hoax. it has to be supported. political interference as you put it on any side is abhorrent. on the question we all want to move on from. that meeting on thursday, i heard senator graham make preference to a tape. he, i believe, said on the issue of whether or not the president used the word love -- secretary nielsen: sorry. i know what you are referencing.
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that was the tuesday meeting he was referencing. the one that was publicly aired. i thinking he was saying go back to the tape. that was on the news. senator blumenthal: you are not aware of any tape of the thursday meeting? secretary nielsen: no. senator blumenthal: have you spoken to others at that meeting who might recall? secretary nielsen: i haven't spoken to senators cotton or perdue or leader mccarthy. senator blumenthal: anyone in the white house? secretary nielsen: no, sir. senator blumenthal: let me talk about the compromise that senators durbin and graham have helped lead. you mentioned that you had not seen anything before that meeting reduced to writing. you are aware there is a summary now in writing? secretary nielsen: i do not -- i personally do not have it.
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i would love to have it. senator blumenthal: i have a copy. don't believe it is classified. you have security clearance and i think you would agree it is the only bipartisan deal in town right now, correct? secretary nielsen: there is a bill that i understand was introduced in the house that has not been voted on. as you know. but there is a goodlatte-mccaul bill as well. senator blumenthal: that's not bipartisan. secretary nielsen: it hasn't been voted on. senator blumenthal: it has no bipartisan sponsorship, correct? secretary nielsen: understood. senator blumenthal: if we're going to reach a deal by the end of the week we ought to be working with this deal, correct? secretary nielsen: my staff continues to do that, correct? sen. blumenthal: no one will get everything they want at this stage, correct? secretary nielsen: correct. senator blumenthal: let me move on to, again, puerto rico. and ask you in past crises there have been agreements between fema and the department of
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housing and urban development. you made reference to h.u.d. earlier in terms of h.u.d. carrying out fema's assistance program. why have fema and h.u.d. not reached an agreement? secretary nielsen: with respect to housing? we were -- a couple reasons. one we have some requests that might come through the supplemental or when the budget gets passed. some of it is money that needs to be able to implement its program. generally speaking the rules and roles between the departments are very clear. they are in the national disaster recovery framework and they are spelled out there in terms of the transitional period between response moving through to recovery. senator blumenthal: they have to enter into an interagency agreement. it's customary for your agency and h.u.d. to do so where more than three months after the hurricane, and there is no such agreement here, i hope that you
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will reach and agreement because so far only 350,000 of the one million applications for assistance in individual disaster relief have been approved by fema. and h.u.d. could be a really important partner, correct? secretary nielsen: happy to look into that. senator blumenthal: would you agree with me that the relief package is essential in meeting puerto rico's needs? the house has allocated $81 billion. none of it targeted to puerto rico. would you agree that money has to be specifically allocated to puerto rico? secretary nielsen: the governor continues to be clear what he believes he needs after his state to recover i. i don't have those figures in front of me. senator blumenthal: he said he needs $94 billion in my visits. he has a lot of evidence and
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support for it. let me just finish by asking you, it's a simple question. can you commit that the policies on location that is there will be no enforcement operations at churches, hospitals, schools, courts will be rigorously followed by both c.b.p. and i.c.e.? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. with one exception. in the courthouse, not all of the courthouse is considered sensitive location. part of the courthouse is a controlled area, we will not target victims in that area. but it is controlled, it is much safer for my officers to pick up a criminal in that environment. but with respect to the 2012 list that continues to exist today, yes, you have my commitment. we will not enforce in those locations. senator blumenthal: will you respond to my letters regarding those fail -- secretary nielsen: yes, sir.
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senatorssley: mcconnell. hirono. thank you.: madam secretary, how would it be possible for someone who entered this country through the visa lottery program and who was a legal permanent resident but has not yet gotten his u.s. citizenship to be responsible for sponsoring 23 other people for visas in the space of seven years? secretary nielsen: as an l.p.r. you have the ability to sponsor. senator hirono: is it possible to sponsor 23 others in a span of seven years? let me put this into context. president trump has been very vocal about the diversity lottery program as well as migration. he cited numerous times in the meeting, i was in the white house on thursday, about a horrible terror attack which happened on the west side highway in new york city. several times he mentioned that the attacker who was admitted through the diversity visa program was responsible for 23 other immigrants entering the u.s. i would like to get the factual
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basis for the president's assertion that this person has managed to bring in 23 other people into the country because this is what the president repeated many times. do you have that information? sec. nielsen: i don't have that information, but i'm happy to provide t as you know there is no ceiling on the number of people, to my knowledge, there is no ceiling on the number of people you can sponsor. be happy to provide you the information. senator hirono: there seems to be this misconception about the so-called chain migration that somehow someone can bring in an entire family tree, which includes just about anybody you can think of, and that not how migration works because you have different groupings of family members that can come in under that system. i would really like to get the factual basis for what the president was asserting as to
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this particular immigrant who came to this country. somehow i don't think that there is a factual basis. turning to unaccompanied minors who are apprehended at the border and released to h.h.s., you stated -- they do have to show up for their deportation hearings. you say 90% do not show up? secretary nielsen: yes, ma'am. not just deportation hearings but to their initial hearing. senator hirono: the statistics from the executive office of immigration review shows the vast majority of children do show up and almost every child who has legal representation does show up. i co-sponsored a bill introduced by senator reed last congress and introducing it again this congress that would require the government to appoint counsel to unaccompanied children coming across our border. we know there are children as young as 3 or 4. i have been to immigration court where these young children. it is very true that if they are accompanied by a lawyer that they are more likely to succeed in their request for asylum.
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or whatever the refugee status. if you would like to see all the children return for their hearings, don't you agree providing counsel is a good way to do that? secretary nielsen: we have a duty to protect the children that come here, ma'am. i'm happy to work with you and look at the proposal. senator hirono: one way is to ensure they be provided counsel. can you hardly expect four, five, 6-year-old children to represent themselves in these proceedings. i want to turn the priorities, deportation priorities that you have. you indicated that those who have final orders for removal, even those people who have not been convicted of any criminal -- no criminal convictions that they may have final orders of removal, many of them, a number of them, have received waivers from your department, waivers against deportation.
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so nobody's arguing that we should not be deporting people with criminal convictions, but do you consider that anyone who has a deportation order regardless of what the basis for that order was and where waivers have been granted in the past should not be looked at and provided waivers? because we know of examples of -- in hawaii there was a coffee farmer who had married an american citizen. who had american children. who was deported. and he had received a number of waivers. is it not within the authority of your department to grant these waivers? secretary nielsen: ma'am, we look at each case on a case by case basis. what i was trying to assert before and reassert now, we can't ignore the law. if they have gone through all the courts, they have exhausted all possible appeals and have final order of removal -- senator hirono: there are a number of people with final
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orders that have had waivers. is it not within the authority of your department to grant these waivers? secretary nielsen: we look at them case by case. sen. hirono: yes or no. you have the authority to grant the waivers? secretary nielsen: yes. sen. grassley: i said we were going to quit around 2:00, maybe it's more like 2:10. i have you and harris. senator coons, do you want five minutes? that's 15. i hope that we can -- that nobody else comes in here i'd like to get my questions asked. go ahead, senator booker. senator booker: i can barricade the door, if you'd like. sen. grassley: go ahead. i'll trust you. senator booker: real quick. i like you believe that dangerous criminals, we should get them out of our country. but when you say criminals, are you talking about people that can be low-level crimes from a decade ago that. still counts as a criminal, correct? secretary nielsen: the ones we
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target are criminal offenses. in other words, there are some civil offenses that would not fall within our top tier. senator booker: it's a felony for marijuana possession that somebody might have done 10, 15 years ago. --t's a criminal secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator booker: that person would be prioritized for deportation. secretary nielsen: one of however many we agree on. yes. senator booker: you said earlier, this might be a question for the record because i know you weren't in your position at this time, but you said earlier that the customs border patrol follows court orders, correct? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. senator booker: i have personal experience with this last year when i went to dulles airport during the first iteration of the muslim ban. there was a temporary injunction from a federal judge requiring the customs and border patrol to provide individuals affected by the accountable ii order access to counsel. i was called to go up there because they were refusing to
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provide by that and provide counsel. the question for the record, would you please explain to me, i was there myself, they refused to even talk to me or discuss it as i was holding the court order to let the people being detained. could you please for the record -- i have yet to get an understanding of why customs and border patrol was refusing to abide by a court order. secretary nielsen: i would be happy to look into that. senator booker: thank you very much. on december 1, 2017, the department of homeland security's office of inspector general released a detailed report detailing an on the spot detentions at six detention facilities. you believe in the dignity of all human beings. secretary nielsen: absolutely. senator booker: they should be treated with that level. the inspector general raised serious questions about the treatment and care of i.c.e. detainees. the report stated, i quote, we identified problems that undermined the protection of
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detainees' rights, humane treatment, and provision of safe and healthy environment n light of this administration's highly aggressive posture towards immigrant community, and putting people into these facilities, it's very troubling to me that your own inspector general would have a report detailing the united states of america treating others in an inhumane manner that's an assault to their dignity. so could you -- affirm to me that you are aware of this report? secretary nielsen: i am aware of this report. senator booker: what actions are you taking right now to address the concerns? secretary nielsen: first of all, looking into both the recommendations and the facts provided, as you might know the homeland security advisory council did its own review independently for the department a year ago, over a year ago at this point, on detention centers. i would like to look at the recommendations from both to address any issues that remain. certainly any concerns of inhumane treatment. senator booker: you are saying
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you are going to try to implement the recommendations of the report. can you give me a timeline or assurance? sec. nielsen: i am happy to come and brief you myself, sir. i have not had an opportunity to understand the depth of any changes that might be necessary. or whether the facts -- i need more information. it just came out in december. i would be happy to do that. senator booker: i'm grateful. i will take you up on that offer. on september 11, right after the attacks, the federal government created -- i know, the national security and exit registration system. the program requires noncitizen visa holders from certain countries to register with the federal government. the registration process includes fingerprinting, photo taking, interrogations, one an individual was registered, they required the person to regularly check in with immigration officials. finally it monitors people who registered with the program to ensure no one remained in the country longer than the law permitted them. notably the only people who had to registered for the list were
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from muslim countries with the exception of north korea. i'm wondering do you believe that it is legal and keeping with the values of our country, and our constitution to force people from muslim nations to register their presence in the united states? secretary nielsen: based on the fact they are muslim, absolutely not. senator booker: i have introduced legislation trying to prevent that registry being created s that something you would be willing to commit to make sure it does not happen in terms of creating something akin to a muslim registry? secretary nielsen: yes. senator booker: thank you. senator harris: thank you. i think you would agree that all federal agencies, in fact all government agencies, have limited resources. who perform their duties and responsibilities. have to make priorities about where they will use the limited resources and prioritize based on whatever they perceive to be their mission.
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your testimony before the homeland security committee, which i am a member, on november 8, i asked you if you agreed with what your predecessor, secretary kelly at the time, said, which is that in terms of enforcement priorities, there has to be something else we're operating more or less at the other end of the spectrum in terms of the range of offenses for which you can detain. and he said, we're operating more or less at the other end of the spectrum. that is criminals. multiple convictions. he said, i asked you that, i quoted that. you said yes, i agree. we should prioritize criminals and any others we're concerned may present a national security concern. i asked you the definition of criminals would include people who have violated the law in terms of the violation of the penal code. i asked you to -- i urged you to consider those as the definition of a criminal. you said, quote, yes, the criminality i would be talking about with respect to enforcement priority is above
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and beyond the original illegal entry. "the washington post" reported in september of this past year a threefold increase in arrests of noncriminals by your agency. you also in addition apparently have changed the way that you report data in your department and in the past i.c.e. would provide data broken down by individuals who committed the most serious offenses. however this year your report has lumped all criminal offenses and convictions together so you have combined serious crimes with traffic offenses. i would urge you to recall and review your testimony before a senate committee only a couple months ago, where you at that point, in seeking confirmation of this united states senate indicated that you saw a difference between criminal offenses, felonies, and those
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who have entered the country illegally. for example, i would ask you to consider the case of u.c. berkeley student luis who remains in custody but was apprehended on january 4. he came to this country as a child. he's a political science major. he volunteers at his church. he was the winner of the "san diego union tribune's" young latino champion award. and today is the first day of instruction at u.c. berkeley for their spring semester and instead of being in class, he is in i.c.e. custody at the detente center. madam secretary, i would ask you to consider the previous comments you have made to a committee about your priorities regarding enforcement. take a look at this case and determine whether he fits what you have indicated before to be a priority. if you stand by your previous testimony, he does not. secretary nielsen: i stand by my testimony. i'm happy to look into the facts.
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i am not prepared to testify to them today because i am not aware of them. senator harris: thank you. during a 4, 2018 interview on fox news i.c.e. agency acting director said he asked the justice department to look into criminal charges for elected official was sanctuary policies as they are harboring illegal aliens according to 8 u.s.c. 1324. this comment was specifically about california elected officials. after the enact the of the california values act. my question is whether d.h.s. is currently working with the justice department to bring section 8 u.s.c. 1324 charges or any criminal charges against state or local officials. secretary nielsen: i believe the request was made. the department of justice is reviewing what avenues might be available. the context of this is of course not only putting my i.c.e. officers at risk but also finding an efficient and effective way to enforce our immigration laws. senator harris: you are aware of cases in which this code will be used to criminally charge elected officials? secretary nielsen: i am not aware of any case.
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it was a request to look into t senator harris: from your department? secretary nielsen: yes. senator harris: at your confirmation hearing you committed that you would report to congress within three months about what you have done to address the i.o.g.'s november 3 report which is entitled major management and perform challenges facing the department of homeland security. are you prepared to keep that commitment which would be march 5? secretary nielsen: yes, ma'am. senator harris: last week the white house disbanded the controversial election integrity -- integrity commission without finding widespread evidence of voter fraud. following its disbanding, chris claimed he would, and i quote, be working closely with d.h.s. and the white house on this issue. my question, final question, mr. chairman, could you please specify does mr. kovak have an advisory role or any role at d.h.s. on this matter or any other matter? secretary nielsen: he does not have an advisory role. he's a secretary of state.
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we're working with secretaries of state to ensure the integrity of systems. he does not have any advisory informal or formal. coons.assley: senator senator coons: thank you, madam secretary, for a chance to continue to question you on some of the issues i raised previously. first about conditions of detention. on september 26, last year, the aclu filed a complaint asking d.h.s. to investigate 10 cases of pregnant women who were held for weeks at detention facilities in california and texas despite a memo signed by acting director last year barring the practice, quote, absent extraordinary circumstances or the requirement of mandatory detention. i also raised this in person with the then acting director. the complaint by aclu alleged at least two of these women miscarried while in i.c.e. detention certainties because of -- centers because of insufficient health care support during detention. how many pregnant women are currently in i.c.e. detection centers? what has d.h.s. done to ensure they get the health care they need?
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secretary nielsen: i can't give you the number. the guidance you referenced by the acting director goes into some detail about the provisions and support that i.c.e. detention centers would provide. many of the instances that have been in the press are actually in our sister agency related to h.h.s. we're working with them to make sure the policies align. senator coons: the administration sought in this year's proposal to cut funding for the port security grant program by half. and i understand there is a proposal being discussed to cut it even further to $36 million. needless to say this program is important to a number of ports on the delaware river. my home state is delaware. why do you think it's prudent to significantly reduce investments in port security? secretary nielsen: what i believe, sir, what we did, what the administration did was look at all of the grant programs across the board from a risk basis. there are other risks that we need to address.
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so it's more of an allocation issue. not to say there isn't a risk at the ports. the coast guard continues to be very involved. other parts of d.h.s. and the government that help with the security of the ports. senator coons: in april, senator rubio and i introduced the counterterrorism and screening assistance act. there is a companion in the house. it would strengthen the ability of our allies and partners around the world to track terrorist and foreign fighter travel in particular. directs d.h.s. to provide appropriate versions of custom and border protection, global travel, targeting and analysis systems, software, and other systems, to a foreign partner governments, it also authorizes d.h.s. to provide excess nonlethal equipment, supplies, training to foreign governments to further u.s. homeland security interests. does d.h.s. support these goals and your understanding would it support the passage of this bill? secretary nielsen: to prevent foreign fighters coming to the united states, absolutely. we look forward to working with you on it. senator coons: we would
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appreciate your engagement on that. about four months ago hurricane maria slammed into the island of puerto rico and both the u.s. virgin islands and puerto rico particularly. to some extent, florida suffered , significant damage. it was catastrophic for puerto rico. what's your sense today four months later, roughly what percentage the island has power and water? secretary nielsen: the power goes up and down. we are around 60% to 70% water. the story with water is better. there is a lot more we need to do. it's going to be a road of recovery we need to fin to work -- we need to continue to work with them. senator coons: what's the sense of the official death toll in puerto rico? secretary nielsen: i know they are looking at that. it's a state and local determination to determine causation. we have been in close contact with the governor as he does his review and assessment. it's an important figure for to us understand. senator coons: do you believe your department's response to hurricane maria could have been better? secretary nielsen: i believe we learn lessons as we can. -- as we go. it was an unprecedented response
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what can i tell you from both a prepositioning to immediate response to the men and women who were there on the ground now. we had one of the largest surge force that is we have ever had. meaning we had people come interesting all parts of government to join with fema. i'm very anxious to learn the lessons learned. and to see how we can do better in the future. senator coons: i'll say while i'm grateful for the service of those united states military and fema who responded, i think it could have been and still needs to be better than it has been. i hear regularly from the puerto rican community in delaware about family members who are still stranded and about failures to respond in a way that i would expect delaware would have received or other states on the mainland would have received. i'm disappointed in the response to date. would love to work with you to try to, as you put it, learn those lessons but also strength yen the response. -- strengthen the response. my last question, since november the department has terminated t.p.s. designations for quite a few countries.
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if i'm not mistaken, haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, el salvador, a country with very high homicide levels, liberia, sierra leone, which suffered catastrophic civil wars. our country has long welcomed those seeking ref few from natural disasters and from civil strife. there was as has been discussed at great length an unfortunate meeting last week where the president was reported to have suggested we don't welcome people from certain countries. in particular countries under difficult circumstances. in my experience some of the greatest americans have come from countries suffering through difficulties. alexander hamilton immigrated here from nevis. i have been to haiti and liberia. there are liberian and haitian -- liberian americans and haitian americans in my home state who make great contributions to our economy and culture. will you produce the aalcy, -- the analysis and the input
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the d.h.s. received from other agencies that justify these determinations in t.p.s.? sec. nielsen: i am happy to work with your staff. to the extent some of the information doesn't belong to me, i have to work with my colleagues to give you an affirmative. yes, i'm happy to walk you through the full analysis. senator coons: thank you for your answers. in my view it's important that we find a way working together to both protect our homeland from those threats. we both see clearly. yet to do so in a way that reflects the values that have made this a country that's long been a beacon for human rights and a place that has welcomed refugees and strengthened by the contributions of immigrants there all over the world. thank you mr. chairman. senator grassley: two members left, me with my second round. i will have a couple questions. then i'll go and senator flake will finish up. he's going to use his 10 minutes. since october 31, that's the terror attack that we had in the united states, calls for an end
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to the diversity visa, those calls have increased. as you know the controversial program functions as a lottery, allowing aliens from countries with low rates of immigration to the united states a chance to register to commit visa -- submit visa applications. due to random collection applicants, many have expressed concern with the program's susceptibility to fraud. 2017 report found that counselor offices reported widespread use of fake documents to verify applicant's identity. in addition, they state the inspector general report found that aliens from countries with ties to terrorism were permitted to apply for this visa. in a recent response to a letter that i sent asking for a candid assessment of this program, the state department described the document and identity fraud that exists in the application
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process and the resource intensive method for uncovering it. due to the vulnerability to fraud and abuse, it's documented used by terrorist, do you think the diversity visa lottery program should be eliminated? do you think that this visa program has an increased potential for use by terrorists and criminals entering the country and receiving status? the second question is more important than the first. secretary nielsen: sir, i believe as you say it's documented there is a lot of fraud and abuse in this program. with the 80-plus programs that we have for legal immigration, i believe that we can and should do better for the american people to ensure that those who come here are able to contribute. willing to contribute. and to assimlate into our communities. chairman grassley: in regard to sanctuary cities and states, i applaud this administration's efforts to crack down on
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sanctuary jurisdictions and insist the communities participate in the program. unfortunately, since president trump took office a number jurisdictions decided to stop honoring i.c.e. detainer requests. that's dangerous and i worry about the impact an entire state becoming sanctuary will have on becoming sanctuary will have on public safety. considering that can you describe the trump administration ongoing efforts to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions and what steps you are taking to encourage communities to cooperate? secretary nielsen: yes, sir. first of all, as you know, we have asked that congress makes clear that the detainer of authority applies and also to provide identification for those who want to work with us. this is truly a issue of safety. of safety for immigrant communities, also for the officers and men and women
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of dhs. the safest place to take someone into custody is an controlled environment, which is in the jails after they have committed the crime. the detainers allow for state and local jurisdiction to give us 48 hours notice. it does not have to be that they hold 48 hours after. they can give us 48 hours notice. we will come and pick them up in a controlled environment. chairman grassley: i think i will submit the rest of my questions and answers and writing. thank you for being here. senator flake, for your 10 minutes. sen flake: thank you, mr. chairman. lot of have missed a what has gone on. i will try to get some of it coming in. i'm sorry. heard mention i of the president who wanted to get the full $20 billion appropriated for the border wall , or wall system, do we have
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left over money, even from last year? money that has been authorized but has not been spent on border infrastructure? sec. nielsen: the money is allocated and there are plans to spend it. the $20 billion the president was speaking is for other needs we have identified. could ae: how quickly structure wall system be built? sec. nielsen: we would build it as fast as we can. there are a lot of variables to account for. the willingness for state localities to work with us. california has a blacklisting law they have proposed which would prevent contractors from working with the department of homeland security. if they do, they are not able to get state and local contracts. variables that are hard for me to account for, but we will work on it as fast as we can. sen flake: i believe i have heard you say we are talking seven years at the soonest. eminents nothing of
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inain issues, litigations texas where it is almost all private land. is there any -- do you believe it can be done faster than seven years? sec. nielsen: we're looking into it. sen flake: if it can be done and one year, is there any reason for congress to appropriate all $20 billion at this time? sec. nielsen: i think the discussion was around authorization, not appropriation. the idea is if we only authorize year by year, there is a question of whether we would have the next year. these contracts are complicated, being able to know the money will be there the next year, from an authorization perspective, makes a difference in terms of efficiency. sen flake: let me drill down on what the wall system actually means. had somedent has language he has used, to make him a little confusing, after he was elected.
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i believe he said, we are not talking about a fence, we are talking about a wall. it is talked about a big, beautiful wall. i have appreciated what you said and what has been said recently anthe president and others, appreciation that it can't and should not be a 2000 mile wall. the topography does not allow it. talk -- but like to i would like to talk about arizona. we have over 300 miles of border. is there any place in arizona you are aware of that has an opaque style wall that somebody would think of as a wall? sec. nielsen: in terms of planning for future? sen flake: in terms of current. sec. nielsen: i'm happy to get back to on that. sen flake: we have had in the past through some communities the old landing maps from vietnam era that were turned on their and in cemented into the ground. the problem is you can't see through them.
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kids on the other side or others on the other side of the wall can throw rocks and so we have been taking those out, the plan has been taking those walls out and putting in a fence which works better. in fact, the president visited wiese --, new send near saint-louis's, we have the best border infrastructure anywhere along the southern border. it is to fences with an access road in the middle. fences.ences -- the two i'm struggling to think of any place in arizona where we have a wall, or anywhere where such an opaque structure that one things about they say a wall would be appropriate. can you correct me? your point is well
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taken. the president asked what you need to provide coronal -- provide control of the border back of what the men and women said is we do not need a wall. what we need is a variety of components that help us reach this mission that i mentioned. i will say quickly. impudence and denial which is that readiness. >> there are parts of arizona where we have part of our border traffic. where if you put a border wall, you would drown out communities on the southern side. you have a watershed and river influence that go northward and if you had a wall, it would impede progress. in fact, even the fences we have their, guess we have there have to have still get -- we have
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there have to have some gates in them. -- storm gates in them. the evolution of discussion on this will continue i hope. when there is talk about a border wall and the wall and the wall has to be funded, it conjures up images that don't exist. to say nothing of who would pay for it. we won't even get into that. when talking about the wall and insistence that the wall be , that may be a good rhetorical advice or campaign device, but in the real world, it doesn't mean much. i am pleased that you have been moving in a different direction, talking about a wall system which really isn't a wall. fences are better. fences make good neighbors is apt here. we need more structures, more barriers, more infrastructure in
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previous iterations of legislation we provided for that. it is not just now. the president was not the first one to talk about needing a border barrier. we will move on from that and talk about cbp hiring. we have the cbp higher act to retain border agents. can you talk about what the needs are? we have difficulty hiring them fast enough. can be asen: hiring challenge but one we are taking seriously. acting commissioner has been clear. we are not just looking at our authorities and how can reach new audiences, but also looking at things like the polygraph that they have to take as officers to ensure they are done efficiently and they are not inappropriately weeding some
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out. flake: in regard to the wall systems, can you talk about the need for order roads are access roads? sec. nielsen: they are vital. it is the way that cdp can respond to an alert. deemedcess and mobility not only for the safety of the agents it also for their ability to do the jobs. sen. flake: for arizona, when i talk to property owners, the ranches, that is one of the most important items they reference. barriersave decent which we can have everywhere -- the typography doesn't allow it. you have to have roads and you have to have access. sometime that can be a lady of activity just can be illegal
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activities but without access roads, it can take a couple of hours for agents to respond. i hope that is on the list on the bipartisan bill that we have been working on that as part of the what is authorized. i hope that can move ahead. say, you, let me support body cameras for law enforcement? sec. nielsen: i have not had the opportunity to have that discussion with my component heads. i understand the need for it and i look forward to discussing it with them. sen. flake: senator whitehouse. sen. whitehouse: you are recognized for five minutes. be the last may question are that you will see. i hope that as you go back and reflect on today's hearing that a few things stick out.
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'sthink senator graham competition with you. i hope you take apart. i think it's formulation of the need for there to be phase one and a face to and that if either side wants everything in face to push forward to phase one, will crash right at the beginning. we will not be an to move forward. phase one is a constructive idea and i thought that after the first meeting with the president we were close to the outline of a phase one resolution. i think also the notion that has as wallcussed here systems is a good idea because i think there is a difference between being support of border security and being in pursuit of massive unnecessary, overly expensive and unwanted public works spending programs just walls for the sake of walls. particularly where they will do
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damage to local communities, local farmers, local access to the river. the more we call him down and think this thing through, the more you'll find there is support for considerable increases to border security. i hope that is key message you take away. unelected change the topic in the my last minutes to sentinel. sentinel -- fentanyl is killing americans at a phenomenal rate. fentanyl is a compound created chemically that behaves in the mind and brained as if it were heroin but it can be dialed up to far more lethal concentrations. the result is that very often an addict who is accustomed to heroin gets suddenly into fentanyl and they die.
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rhode island has a small town called burrillville it has just a couple of thousand people. it's got only two for no partners -- two funeral partners. in 13-month period, the beginning of the year, a couple of years back when i was working on the copperheads of recovery act -- comprehensive recovery act, had six fatalities in the community. that is like beating on a bruise. people get hurt by the first fatality and then a second and then the third and in the fourth and then people know each other and it is back to the same funeral homes. police are getting agonized at what they have to see, how hard it is for them to respond and they cannot deal with it. the lethal aspect of fentanyl are filled all across the country and all of our states.
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-- in all of our states. a good deal of it is coming from china, that it is so potent that it can be dialed down to fairly small packages still shipped. i will like to urge that you make -- i would like to urge that you make it a priority, as important as walls and fences, to try and figure out how our shipping services and posting server -- postal services can find the fentanyl before it gets into our children and kills them. sec. nielsen: you have my commitments are earlier we talked about the stop act, but we need to do more. i couldn't agree more. sen. whitehouse: i think the topics i've mentioned come election interference and cyber security are ones where i think there is considerable partisan eagerness to protect our country
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on both sides of the aisle. republicans and democrats alike feel strongly about that. fentanyl is exactly the same way . there is a bipartisan door that is open to you on all three of these issues. i urge you, come knocking. sec. nielsen: i look forward to it, sir. frustratedouse: i am that this seems to be no proactive legislative effort coming from any part of the comingtration on cyber, on election interference and very little coming on fentanyl. i think these are opportunities that you are missing to accomplish important things in a bipartisan way that will save american lives. sec. nielsen: we will be by to talk about it. >> thank you, chairman flake. >> i am glad that senator graham
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mentioned phases. i know we spoke about that in that tuesday meeting. those of us who have been involved in immigration reform legislation before it denies that some of these issues are extremely thorny. they take a lot of negotiation and compromise on all sides, things like chain migration, policies them with unaccompanied minors and worker programs enforcement issues. those are things that will need to be a part of comprehensive reform. sure that weake protect those who came through no fault of their own, so-called daca kids, there's got to be phase one and phase two. i hope that message is taken back and recognized in order to get the votes that we need to pass this important legislation.
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we will be open for one week. i will ask those who need to get questions and and those -- --stions in and those senator grassley as a part of the record, without objection. with that, the hearing stands adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]
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>> wednesday on c-span, the house considers a bill to exempt
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circle just certain local banks from requirements. tenant :00 eastern for morning our speeches. is at the house of commons for prime minister's questions, that is at 7 a.m. eastern. the senate continues debate on a bill to reauthorize section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance at. they come in at 10:00 eastern. in 2011.were banned this house rules committee starts at 10:30 a.m. eastern. in the afternoon, former senate majority leader bob dole receives the congressional gold medal on capitol hill. continues thisus month with stops in raleigh, columbia, atlanta and montgomery. -- during our live washington journal program. follow the tour and join us on
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wednesday for our stop in raleigh, north carolina. our guest is josh stein. this weekend, c-span cities tour takes us to rhode island with the help of our cable partners, look for new ports rich literary scene. watch c-span's tour of newport, rhode island, beginning saturday at noon eastern on book tv or c-span2. workingay on c-span3, with our cable affiliates as we explore america. >> president trump underwent a four hour medical examination last week. his doctor took questions at the daily briefing today. let's watch. [crowd noise]


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